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New Director of Policy Planning appointed (Jan. 2014)

M. Gruden

Mr Matjaž Gruden, former Deputy Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General, has been appointed to the post of Director of Policy Planning of the Council of Europe, with effect from 1 January 2015.

DPP Newsletter - December 2014 Issue (Dec. 2014)

Together with news on recent and upcoming Policy Planning activities (European Identity Debates, the 'Awareness Lab for Early Response - Team' (ALER-T) meetings, new publications and 'Open Thoughts' papers), you will find useful information and the names of contact persons.

New publication 'The Pursuit of Undivided Europe' - Experts' views on the Political Relevance of the Council of Europe (Dec. 2014)

Cover_The_Pursuit_of_Undivided_EuropePeaceful, prosperous, democratic and respectful of people's rights, How can the Council of Europe remain and thrive as the continent’s main reference point in terms of human rights, democracy and the rule of law? Is there a way for Strasbourg to more successfully accomplish the major task of protecting the human rights of European citizens? How can the Council of Europe, in an ever more multipolar European order, become an indispensable tool for the realisation of the pan-European idea and a unified Europe from Reykjavik to Moscow? In what ways does the Organisation have to change in order to account for the dynamics that have taken place in our societies in the last two decades? What new tasks does it have to strategically take on and should it modernise itself as an international body? Finally, what can it do to become a “club of democracies” again?

This publication is based on a collaborative project that the Directorate of Policy Planning of the Council of Europe conducted with 14 renowned analysts from major European think tanks over almost two years. In three advisory reports, designed to provide a solid basis for the Council of Europe’s decision makers and future strategy, the analysts tried to find answers to the questions above and addressed many other highly significant issues about the Organisation’s continued relevance, credibility and visibility. In a time of profound human rights fatigue in and beyond Europe, and with a new value divide emerging between different parts of the continent, the Council of Europe and the think tank community thought it was high time to bring the Council of Europe back into the limelight of European politics."

Link to Publication Pdf version
Read more on Cooperation with Think_tanks

The Council of Europe and University Chairs Meeting ‘Towards an Enhanced Role of the Council of Europe in University Teaching and Research’ (Dec. 2014)

AcademicsIn order to strengthen the relationship with universities, the Directorate of Policy Planning, in co-operation with the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI) and the Directorate General of Democracy (DGII), organised a meeting on 3 December with representatives of leading European institutions of higher education. These include the University of Oxford, Istanbul Bilgi University, European University Institute (Florence), University of Sarajevo, Central European University (Budapest) and the European Humanities University (Belarussian University in exile, Vilnius).


The Schools of Political Studies at the World Forum for Democracy (3-5 November)

From 3 to 5 November, the participants from the 21 Schools of Political studies of the Council of Europe, including the newly created Turkish and Greek Schools, participated in the World Forum for democracy, as a part of the Schools' annual cycle. The theme of the 2014 World Forum was "From participation to influence: can youth revitalise democracy?"

Schools participants also benefited from a specific programme of additional events organised for them from 2 to 6 November, including meetings with the judges of the European Court of Human rights, exchanges of views with their peers in thematic and professional group meetings as well as bilateral meetings. The programme also included a solemn and lively diploma ceremony during which the Secretary General of the Council of Europe handed certificates to School participants to mark the completion of the 2014 Schools cycle.
Read synopses of thematic and professional group meetings

In the framework of the World Forum, the Autumn meeting of the Schools Directors took place on 2 November.

'Policy Development and Confidence Building Workshop for Civil Society Leaders and Policy Makers from the Black Sea Region' - Budapest, 6-10 October 2014 (7 Oct. 2014)

Black_sea_semIn view of the turning points the Black Sea region is facing, the Council of Europe has organised, in co-operation with the School of Public Policy at Central European University, a “Policy Development and Confidence Building Workshop for Civil Society Leaders and Policy Makers from the Black Sea Region” in order to provide an opportunity to engage in thoughtful and in-depth discussions about some of the most compelling issues confronting the region today.

The objective of the workshop was to provide a forum for innovative thinkers from civil society organisations, researchers from policy think tanks and policy makers from the Black Sea region, i.e. Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia to discuss and develop practical, equitable and sustainable solutions to regional policy problems. Thirty-two researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and activists from those countries traveled to Budapest to participate in a series of engaging discussions to develop practical solutions to regional policy problems in the areas of democratic institution building, human rights, cooperative security policy, and transition economics.
Read more

'We need to talk about Europe' - European Identity Debates at the Council of Europe 2013 - 14 (2 Oct. 2014)

"Peaceful, prosperous, democratic and respectful of people's rights, building Europe is an ongoing challenge. For many years it seemed that Europeans lived on a continent of shared values and a common destiny. No one paid attention to the alarm bells warning of growing divisions across the continent, which have become more insistent since the economic and social crisis. Europe and its values, previously taken for granted, are now being contested. These clouds are casting a shadow across Europe's future, and old demons, long dominant, have started to raise their voices again."

(Link to Pdf version..)

(Read more on Identity Debates Series)

Two new Schools of Political Studies (Turkey and Greece) - September 2014

GreeceThe Civic School of Political Studies in Greece opened in Thessaloniki, having been established in co–operation with a distinguished local organisation Symβiosis, thereby becoming the 21st member of the Council of Europe’s Network of Schools of Political Studies. Its first seminar was held in August on the theme “Democracy challenges in Europe: representation, legitimisation, publics and social inclusion”.

On 3 April 2014, the creation of the European School of Politics in Istanbul had been formalised in Venice, in the context of the meeting of the Schools Directors. The School held its first pilot seminar in September, in Istanbul.

Debate on 'Understanding Ukraine' with Daniel Beauvois and Andrew Wilson (26 June 2014)

Wilson A     Beauvois
The objective of the debate was to offer an analysis of the background of the current situation in Ukraine by providing relevant information about its complex history and origins, the issues and challenges, and possible outcomes to the crisis, including European perspectives. The debate was organised as a panel discussion with two experts on Ukraine: M. Daniel Beauvois, French historian and writer, Professor of Universities, and Mr. Andrew Wilson, British historian and political scientist from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Debate video recording - audiorecording  -   YouTube link  - Link

1st International Meeting of the Alumni of Schools of Political Studies (19 June 2014)

The meeting which theme was "Harnessing young people’s potential for building a democratic future" gathered distinguished SPS alumni, coming from more than twenty countries. It addressed two thematics: ‘The marginalisation of today’s young generation: Is the pact between the generations broken?’ and ‘Can young people bring about an agreed set of common values for the future?’ The seminar which gathered more than 50 participants ended with a brainstorming round table on the development of the Schools’ Network, in particular its alumni dimension. The outcomes of the discussions are expected to be of use to the participants in their respective professional or activist functions, as well as to the 2014 session of the World Forum for Democracy which will be organised by the Council of Europe in early November on the theme ‘From participation to influence: can youth revitalise democracy?’ . Link to video clips on youtube.

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The Directorate of Policy Planning (DPP) was set up in 2010 in order to provide the Secretary General, the Committee of Ministers and Major Administrative Entities (MAEs) of the Council of Europe with conceptual and strategic analyses about relevant political and societal developments in Europe and beyond. Its work is based on research and on topical exchanges with internal and external networks. The objective is to enhance the Organisation’s ability to anticipate major trends and challenges facing member states and to offer coherent short- and long-term responses within its statutory mandate.
Policy planning activities
Debate series
European Identity Debates

Does European identity already exist? How could European identity be defined and characterised? How could a common European identity contribute to strengthening the practices and processes of European integration within a wider Europe?

These and many more questions were addressed in the  series of Debates on European Identities initiated by the Council of Europe jointly with the French Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) with the aim of providing an intellectual framework to stimulate reflection amongst diplomats, Council of Europe staff and experts.

Concept paper
Web site

Democracy Debate Series

This series of debates was initiated by the Secretary General in order to stimulate reflection and discussion on the developments and challenges affecting European societies, thereby fostering innovative thinking and action within the Organisation and helping to forge the role of the Council of Europe as a laboratory for new concepts and ideas on democracy. From April 2011 to June 2012, the Democracy Debate series allowed member and observer state Delegations and Council of Europe staff to attend a number of debates introduced by renowned speakers on issues related to the challenges to democracy in Europe and beyond.
Democracy Debates web site
Democracy Debates Collection: 'Democracy on the Precipice'

Meetings of Directors of Policy Planning

In order to analyse member States' European and trans-European policies, the Directorate of Policy Planning organises meetings bringing together Directors of policy planning from Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Council of Europe member states. The first such meeting took place in February 2011 on the general policies in members States followed by a second meeting in September on "Europe and its Arab neighbours: common or compatible values?". The third meeting on 'Central Asian Neighbourhood: Europe's Outpost or Trans-Asian Bridge?' took place in Bucharest in March 2012. The latest meeting was held in Strasbourg in April 2013 on ‘The Promotion of Democracy in Europe and Beyond: New Challenges, Strategies and Instruments’.

Read more

In-house Policy planning meetings
ALER-T initiative
The ALER-T (Awareness Laboratory for early response - Team) in house meetings bring together representatives of all Major Administrative entities (MAES), seeking to enhance the Council of Europe's capacity to provide coherent short-and long-term responses within its statutory mandate to challenges facing member states and the Organisation. Since February 2011 more than forty five meetings have taken place on themes as varied as intercultural dialogue, migration, political extremism, freedom of expression, youth participation, rule of law, financial crisis and social cohesion, corruption and human rights, concentration of power, anti-piracy law, the use and abuse of history in times of crisis, gender balance, elderly people and ageism.

List of meetings 
Main policy findings 
Country-based informal seminars

These meetings offer an opportunity to Council of Europe staff members who work on activities relating to a specific country to discuss the actual and potential role of the Council of Europe in helping to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in that country.

At each meeting, the political context is introduced by a recognised expert specialising in a country or region, followed by a discussion raising issues relevant to the Council of Europe’s work with the country or region in question.

Since October 2011, a number of closed informal brainstorming meetings have taken place, including on Turkey (October 2011), Ukraine (February 2012), Bosnia and Herzegovina (March 2012) and Azerbaijan (June 2012), Georgia (November 2012), United-Kingdom (February 2013), ‘Non-Recognised/Separatist Entities’ (March 2013), ‘Europe after the Crisis’ (April 2013), Russian and Europe (October 2013). The latest one, on 'The European institutions and Eastern Europe after Maidan' took place in Strasbourg in June 2014.

Co-operation with think-tanks

The Directorate of Policy Planning is building contacts with major European think tanks and reviews academic work on relevant topics in order to provide Senior Management with strategic expertise and background information.

On 4 December 2012, the Council of Europe organised a meeting of directors of policy planning and representatives from 27 major European think tanks in Strasbourg. As a follow-up to this meeting, a task force-format with three different CoE-related focal topics has been decided:

1st group: ‘Smart Power – Ways of Enhancing the Council of Europe’s Impact

2nd group: ‘The Pan-European Dimension: Ensuring the Use of the Council’s Wider European Membership’

3rd group: ‘Challenges to European Societies: Identifying Major Risks and Finding Innovative Policies’.

 The task forces produced advisory reports which gave birth to a publication: 'The pursuit of undivided Europe'

Read more (incl. advisory reports of Task Forces)

The Schools of Political Studies
General presentation

The Schools of Political Studies are aimed at training future generations of political, economic, social and cultural leaders in countries in transition. With the participation of national and international experts, they organise annual series of seminars and conferences on topics such as European integration, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and globalisation.

The Schools web site


School Directors' meetings

The last meeting of the Directors of the Schools of Political Studies took place in Strasbourg on 27 November 2013.

Seminars organised by the Schools

A number of seminars and other events are being organised by the Schools.

See list since March 2014.

Group of Eminent Persons on "Living together in the XXI Century"
At the initiative of Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, a Group of Eminent Persons (GEP) was convened in 2011 to prepare a report in the context of the project ''Living together in 21st century Europe'', on the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe. The Directorate of Policy Planning implements follow-up action to the report.
Other activities

Joint Council of Europe - Harvard University Conference SeriesHarvard

The United States of America and Europe have long considered themselves to be allies in the fight for domestic and international human rights. However, these two continents interpret certain key human rights issues in different ways and there is a need for a meaningful dialogue. Therefore, the Council of Europe and Harvard University have agreed to co-organise a two-part conference series. This conference series is aimed at exposing participants to viewpoints different from those they already possess, and thereby facilitate a greater understanding on the similarity and dissimilarity in human rights perspectives, practices and standards across the Atlantic.

The first conference, on "Divided by a Common Heritage: Human Rights in Europe and the United States" took place in Cambridge on 23 September 2013.

Read more
Programme of the conference
Conference poster


Council of Europe - OSCE study

In 2011, the Council of Europe commissioned the study ‘The Council of Europe and the OSCE: Enhancing Co-operation and Complementarity through Greater Coherence’. This study was finalised in March 2012 and includes a number of practical proposals on how the two organisations could achieve greater synergies and ensure better coherence and complementarity. It was brought to the attention of all Delegations to the Council of Europe and through the OSCE Secretary General and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to the Delegations at the OSCE.

Read the report on relations between the CoE and the OSCE

Read more