(Strasbourg, 2-3 December 2008)


1. The Autumn Session Programme

You can consult the Autumn Session programme (see document CG/SA(15)OJ1PROV), which is regularly updated, on the Congress website:

The Plenary Session of the Congress, as well as the sittings of the two Chambers (Tuesday 2 December) are public.

The meetings of the Bureaux, the specific Committees and the political groups are restricted access (see the draft timetable of meetings).

2. Arrival and welcome

When you arrive, the reception desk will provide you with a pass (badge) valid for the duration of the Session, which will allow you to access and pass freely through the building. It is compulsory to wear this badge, as certain areas of the building are inaccessible without it.

To ensure the organisation of your arrival, as soon as your participation at the session is confirmed, we will send you a form to complete and send back to us as soon as possible.

This form will inform us of your dates and arrival and departure times to and from Strasbourg as well as, if possible, your arrival time at the Council of Europe itself and the name and function of all accompanying personnel, including interpreters if applicable,. This will ensure that a badge is prepared for them so that they can enter the building.

3. Access to the hemicycle (1st floor of the Palais) and to meeting rooms (2nd floor of the Palais)

Special guests who are in the Session programme, and accompanying persons, will be shown to their allotted place in the hemicycle (plenary session, Tuesday 2 December 2008 from 9.30 to 12.30) or to the meeting room, by a staff member of the Congress secretariat.

4. Debates

a. Working languages

The official languages of the Congress are English and French. German, Italian and Russian are working languages.

During the Sessions, speeches made during the sittings in one of these 5 languages are interpreted simultaneously into the other languages.

b. Speeches

If you are delivering a speech, the Secretariat requests you send a copy of it (electronic version), if possible before the Session, in order that it can be made available to the interpreters, and thus ensure its publication, translation and appearance online on the Congress website.

Speeches are given from the rostrum, at front of the room.

c. Speaking Time

As a general rule, the speaking time granted for a speech is around10 minutes.

d. Questions, taking the floor

Speeches by special guests are generally followed by a short debate.
The questions are spontaneous with the exception of those addressed to the President of the Committee of Ministers and to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

5. Working documents

Working documents and summaries of the reports are available at the entrance of the hemicycle and at the back of the meeting rooms. Texts to be adopted (draft Recommendations, Resolutions or Opinions) are published in the Congress’ five working languages (English, French, German, Italian and Russian).

Texts submitted for debate are public and are available on the Congress website:, 20 days prior to the Session.