STRASBOURG, October 4. /TASS/. The draft project on the trilateral reaction mechanism to violations of the Council of Europe Statute requires further work, a source in the Council of Europe told TASS on Friday. The source commented on the initiative introduced by the French chairmanship on initiating a sanctions mechanism in the Council of Europe.
On Monday, French Minister of State for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin addressed the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) session with an idea of creating a mechanism of disciplining its member states, including the use of sanctions for violating the Council of Europe’s Statute. Paris’ task is to have these procedures enforced in 2020, she said. According to Montchalin, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Committee of Ministers, and PACE would have the right to initiate the procedure; however, all three of them need to adhere to it. Russian MP Leonid Slutsky stated earlier that establishing a sanctions mechanism within the Council of Europe would exacerbate differences on the European continent.
The main flaw
According to the source, the main flaw of the project is the fact that the new procedure is not created to replace the existing powers of PACE, but as an addition to them. PACE retains the function of initiating the sanctions mechanism based on, for example, "non-adherence to obligations undertaken upon joining the Council of Europe by its member states" and "refusal to cooperate within the assembly’s monitoring procedure," the source explained.
This is why, in order to avoid the duplication of the mechanism, it is necessary to rid PACE of its power to introduce unilateral sanctions against national delegations, the source noted.
The implementation of the mechanism requires an official notice addressed to the state that violated the Statute. After that, high-level political dialogue must be organized: Council of Europe Secretary General, as well as the chairpersons of PACE and Committee of Ministers must "make a joint visit to the country to hold meetings at the top political level" within a month after sending the notice. The mechanism includes the adoption of a roadmap, which will be prepared by the Secretary General on the outcomes of the visit and approved by all three sides.
However, the source stressed that "exclusion of the guilty party from the process of drafting a roadmap and the activity of the special working group" is unacceptable. "This puts [the state] in a vulnerable position, ridding it of the opportunity to defend its stance during the key stages of the procedure," the source explained, adding that it contradicts the calls for constructive dialogue and cooperation in relation to introducing this procedure.
A mechanism for developing and cancelling the procedure at any stage of its application in case of progress in cooperation with the Council of Europe bodies must be established, the source noted.
"The French project is underdeveloped and requires serious work," the Council of Europe source concluded.