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Good Democratic Governance:  a New Standard for the Council of Europe Member States

Today's decision by the Committee of Ministers to adopt Recommendation CM/Rec(2023)5 to member states on the principles of good democratic governance establishes the first international legal instrument in this field. The Recommendation gives meaning to the call of Heads of State and Government, recently gathered at Reykjavik, who committed “to securing and strengthening democracy and good governance at all levels throughout Europe.” The timely adoption of this standard also provides a strong and clear response to concerns about threats to democratic institutions in Europe, highlighted in recent annual reports by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and in the reports of the Parliamentary Assembly on security and on safeguarding genuine democracy in Europe. 
Good democratic governance is the way in which democracy is given real substance in everyday lives. It is about how and by whom things in a state are done – that is through processes, institutions, and practices that are genuinely accountable to people, through which people can have a real say, and in which people can be confident that their interests are being served. 

The Recommendation sets out the fundamentals of good democratic governance: the protection and promotion of democracy; respect for human rights and the rule of law; the observance of public ethics and integrity; and the practice of good administration and the delivery of high-quality public services. The recommendation expands on the 12 key principles to guide the actions of decision-makers and public institutions at all levels, and to make clear to all the standards expected from those who are trusted to manage public affairs. An Explanatory Memorandum provides further details.
The Recommendation was prepared by the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG)

Strasbourg, France 6 September 2023
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