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"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_region_picIn 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.

Black_sea_semThe 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.
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New publication
: "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)

The Civic School of Political Studies opens in 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.

In August 2014, the new School held its first seminar on “Democracy challenges in Europe: representation, legitimisation, publics and social inclusion” (Xanthi, 21–24 August). The four–day event brought together young politicians, civil society activists, journalists and public administrators to address issues such as the interlinked crises of national and European representativity, the role of national and European parliamentarians in the internet age and direct forms of citizens’ public participation as a means to reinvigorate European democratic institutions.

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.
(Read article in Schools newsletter)

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 

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 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?’ .

European Identity Debates: 10th Debate- A Adam D. ROTFELD - "European values and search for identities" (19 May 2014)

RotfeldThe tenth debate of the series was introduced by Adam D. ROTFELD, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, on "European values and search for identities".

The series of European Identity Debates were initiated by the Council of Europe jointly with the French Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Building on the format of the previous Democracy debates, and enlarging the thematic scope, this series aims to provide an intellectual framework to stimulate reflection amongst diplomats, Council of Europe staff and experts.

Introduction speech   -   YouTube link

Link to news on Council of Europe Welcome page

More on Identity Debate series 

Cooperation with think tanks - Advisory report on 'The Pan-European dimension' (report issued in May)

Is the Council of Europe’s big membership of 47 states today an asset or a liability?
Is the pan-European idea, forming the basis of the Organisation’s speedy enlargement in the 1990s and early 2000s, an outdated concept or does it still hold a promise for the future of the European project?
How should the Council approach its Wider European members?
Can Turkey and Russia be accommodated despite their own ambitions to become attractive poles of integration?
Can the relationship with the EU be taken to a higher level, and how can EU states be motivated to invest more in the Organisation? What about a neighbourhood policy for the Council?
And finally, is there a certain raison d’être the CoE can find in its membership?
The key recommendations included in the Advisory report prepared by the second task force ‘The Pan-European Dimension: Ensuring the Use of the Council’s Wider European Membership’ could form the basis of a new approach.
Read also cover note by Director of Policy Planning.

More on Cooperation with Think_tanks

DPP Open thought papers  -  n° 18

'The Curious Case of the Fall in Crime : The Rise of Human Rights?’ - "... Read more


DPP Newsletter: Second issue  (22.11.2013)

     ALL   NEWS    :   Click    here    
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 missions explained by Director Piotr Switalski: Watch interview (February 2014)

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:

. ‘Smart Power – Ways of Enhancing the Council of Europe’s Impact’
. ‘The Pan-European Dimension: Ensuring the Use of the Council’s Wider European Membership’
. ‘Challenges to European Societies: Identifying Major Risks and Finding Innovative Policies’

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, first in Cambridge, on 23 September 2013, and then in Strasbourg, in the second half of 2014. 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

The second conference of the series is to take place  in Strasbourg later in 2014.


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