Concerned by the current financial crisis affecting the Council of Europe, which could accelerate the regression of European civic space and democracy in Europe, the Conference of INGOs sent a letter to all permanent representations to the Council of Europe, asking them to show more solidarity with the Council of Europe to stabilise the current situation.
Letter from the Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs to all permanent representations to the Council of Europe :
The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, representing European Civil Society, is deeply concerned by the current financial crisis affecting the Council of Europe. The decision of the Russian Federation to suspend a part of its contribution to the Council of Europe and the decision of Turkey to reduce its contribution have, combined with the effects of years of 0% budget growth, placed the Council of Europe in an unprecedented situation.
Working with the contributions from all Member States, the Council of Europe has deployed a wide range of activities within the mandate of its Statute to achieve a “greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage”. The Council of Europe’s work anchoring human rights, democracy and the rule of law as foundational European values has delivered the longest sustained period of peace, prosperity and democracy in our continents’ history. Today, the activities of the Council of Europe are in danger and all concerned stakeholders, including civil society, should raise their voices and try to stabilise the current situation.
During its Winter Session, the Conference of INGOs was informed that further budget cuts are to be expected, which could seriously jeopardise future functioning, if not existence, of entire sectors of activity of the Council of Europe. The Conference of INGOs is aware that the Committee of Ministers is trying to find solutions to this crisis. However, rather than stand aside, we do not see why the other 45 Members States cannot simply stand up and cover the shortfall. The Conference of INGOs urges the Member States to show more solidarity with the Council of Europe.
As Civil Society, we believe that much is at stake. The oldest democratic intergovernmental institution of Europe must be brought back on track and given a fair chance to do its job. In these troubled times it is more important than ever – and it depends on the commitment of the Member States of the Council of Europe. We are particularly concerned that any further budget cuts could accelerate the regression of European civic space and democracy in Europe.
Having discussed this issue in our plenary session, we unanimously agreed to convey to you these concerns and to call upon you to make sure that current situation will not impact the ability of the Council of Europe to fulfil its mission.
On behalf of the Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,