Group of Specialists on the Legal Status of Non-Governmental Organisations (CJ-S-ONG)

The civil society, as represented by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), makes an essential contribution to the realisation and development of democratic societies, in particular through the promotion of public awareness and the participatory involvement of citizens in the res publica. Their contribution to the achievement of the aims and principles of the Statute of the Council of Europe is equally important.

At their Third Summit (Warsaw, 17 May 2005), the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member States declared that “effective democracy and good governance at all levels […] are essential [...]” and “can only be achieved through the active involvement of citizens and civil society”. They thus decided to enhance the participation of NGOs in Council of Europe activities.

In the light of the thematic monitoring report on “Freedom of association” presented by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the Committee of Ministers, the latter, through their Deputies, decided, in December 2005, to set up a Group of Specialists on the Legal Status of Non-Governmental Organisations (CJ-S-ONG), under the authority of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), with the specific terms of reference to pursue the examination of its proposal to elaborate a non-binding legal instrument on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe.

The CJ-S-ONG has prepared such a draft recommendation during the course of its two meetings in 2006 (29-30 May and 27-30 November) which was subsequently approved by CDCJ before being submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption. The recommendation (CM/Rec(2007)14) was adopted on 10 October 2007.