Monitoring the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
The Charter provides for a monitoring mechanism to evaluate how it is applied in a State Party with a view to, where necessary, making recommendations for improvements in its legislation, policy and practice. The central element of the monitoring mechanism is the Committee of Experts, which is independent and was established in accordance with Article 17 of the Charter.
Monitoring step by step:
1. Submission of a periodical report by the State Party
Each State Party must submit a periodical report to the Secretary General every three years, explaining their policies and the action they have taken to fulfil the commitments they have undertaken. The reports must be drafted according to the outlines adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The periodical reports from the states are published and may be obtained from the states concerned and from the Council of Europe.
2. Monitoring by the Committee of Experts
During each monitoring cycle, the Committee:
- examines the state's periodical report;
- where necessary, addresses a number of questions to the Party on any unclear areas of the report;
- organises an on-the-spot visit to the state, to meet authorities, non-governmental organisations or any other competent body in order to evaluate the application of the Charter;
- examines any further information submitted by associations and other bodies legally established in the state concerned and with an interest in the application of the Charter;
- adopts an evaluation report, including recommendations to states, on the basis of the information obtained, and addresses it to the Committee of Ministers, together with proposals for additional recommendations to be made to the state concerned.
3. Committee of Ministers' recommendations to the States Parties and follow-up
Following the examination of the report of the Committee of Experts, the Committee of Ministers may decide to make it public. It may also decide to make recommendations to States to ensure that their policies, legislation and practice are in conformity with the obligations of the Charter.
After the publication of an evaluation report, the Council of Europe may decide to organise a round table on the implementation of the Charter in the State Party concerned. This follow-up meeting, chaired by a member of the Committee of Experts, provides a platform for discussion among government representatives and associations of minorities to find concrete measures for the implementation of the Committee of Ministers' recommendations.