Wednesday 29 April 2009

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rejects shortlisting of candidates by the member states - updated (2x)

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has just rejected the shortlisting of only two candidates (see my previous post) for the post of the next Secretary General of the Council of Europe by the ambassadors sitting in the Committee of Ministers' Deputies (the organ representing the governments in the Council of Europe).

The parliamentarians deplore the reduction of choice which was done by the Committee of Ministers against the formal rules of procedure of the Council of Europe. Several said that reducing the list to two candidates representing socialist parties would reduce the political choice of the assembly.

Some even compared the action by the governments' side with the lack of democratic standards the Council of Europe is observing in its member states (see my Twitter coverage from this afternoon).

So with some ammendments and by only one vote against, the Parliamentary Assembly has adopted this draft resolution asking the Ministers' Deputies and the Committee of Ministers to present to them the full list with all four candidates.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the debate will most likely be continued in the Joint Committee, the body uniting representatives from the Parliamentary Assembly and the diplomats from the member states to discuss issues of joint concern.

But the reaction of PACE today was a clear slap in the face of the governments of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, in procedural, political, and democratic terms.

Update: The press release on this matter sounds veeeery diplomatic...

Update 2 (01 May): I just learnt at Le Monde that Mr Van den Brande, on of the eliminated candidates, has been the favourite candidate of Russia and that the Russian Federation is thus not quite happy with the outcomes of vote in the Committee of Ministers' Deputies.