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A new parliamentary effort to create a stability pact in the South Caucasus




Information report
| Doc. 13135 | 18 February 2013

A new parliamentary effort to create 

a stability pact in the South 

Caucasus


Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy
Rapporteur : Mr Latchezar TOSHEV, Bulgaria, EPP/CD

Origin - Reference to committee:


  Doc. 12680, Reference 3802 of 3 October 2011. Information report approved by the committee on 24 January 2013.

 

 

 Summary

The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy deeply regrets that relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have deteriorated to a point where concrete proposals for the establishment of instruments for co-operation between the three South Caucasian States cannot be considered.
It decides, however, to publish its efforts as an information report.

1. Introduction

1. Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe states that “[e]very member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter I”.
2. In its Opinions 221 (2000) and 222 (2000), respectively on Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s applications for membership of the Council of Europe, adopted on 28 June 2000, the Parliamentary Assembly expressed the view that both countries were “able and willing to fulfil the provisions of Article 3 of the Statute”. The Assembly also pointed out that “the accession of both Armenia and Azerbaijan could help to establish the climate of trust necessary for a solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
3. In both these opinions, the Assembly noted that “the frequency of meetings between the presidents of the two countries has been stepped up. The speakers of the parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have decided to institute regional parliamentary co-operation, consisting in particular of meetings of the speakers of the parliaments and parliamentary seminars to be held in the capitals of the three countries and in Strasbourg. The first meeting in the region, which was held in Tbilisi in September 1999, made it possible to establish an atmosphere of trust and détente between the parliamentary delegations of Armenia and Azerbaijan”. Finally the Assembly called on the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities “to pursue their dialogue with a view to achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and giving new impetus to regional co-operation”.
4. The rapporteur is of the opinion that the people living in the South Caucasus deserve to have a better future and increased opportunities for economic development, and also not to be hostages of an ongoing conflict which deprives them of the opportunity for a better life.
5. This requires a “bottom-up” approach, starting with non-controversial areas for co-operation not only between decision-makers, but also between ordinary citizens. The aim is to improve the climate of relations in the South Caucasus, eliminate hate, and encourage dialogue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the conflict. In this respect, the positive example of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe could be taken into consideration.
6. The idea of institutionalising co-operation in the South Caucasus was launched for the first time at the sixth Summit of OSCE Heads of State, held in Istanbul in November 1999, by both President Kocharian of Armenia and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan; it was then reiterated by outgoing Turkish President Demirel in January 2000, and again by Mr Kocharian in March 2000. However, as Mr Adrian Severin wrote in his 2006 report (Doc. 11082)on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus (http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewHTML.asp?FileID=11390&lang=EN), objections raised by Russia and Iran to various aspects of these proposals left them without follow up.
7. The first sitting of the Plenary Assembly of the South Caucasus Parliamentary Initiative (SCPI) was held on 20 December 2003 in Craigellachie, Scotland, with the participation of parliamentary delegations from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and was led by a rotating presidency. During this event, a formal bilateral meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentary delegations was also organised. The second sitting of the Plenary Assembly of the SCPI was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 1 to 3 July 2004, at which a By-Law of this parliamentary forum was adopted. A representative of the Dutch Presidency of the European Union and the Chairperson-in-office of the OSCE, as well as the Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament and several members of the Bulgarian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, participated in and contributed to the work of this sitting. This forum was active until 2007; its activities were subsequently suspended in 2008 due to a lack of political will to continue.
8. It is already 20 years since the OSCE Council (then the “CSCE Council”) requested the Chairman-in-Office to convene, as soon as possible, a conference on Nagorno-Karabakh, to take place in Minsk, in order to provide an ongoing forum for negotiations towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis. The Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, is still in charge of the international community’s effort to find a political solution to this conflict, but to date it has not been possible to hold the conference.


2. The first Parliamentary Assembly initiative

9. Based on my experience as Assembly rapporteur on the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and being native to this region, I tabled, on 5 May 2004, a motion for a recommendation on the establishment of a stability pact on the Caucasian Region (Doc. 10175). The Political Affairs Committee appointed Mr Adrian Severin, member of the Romanian delegation to the Assembly and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, as rapporteur.
10. In its report on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), adopted in 2005, the European Parliament expressed its support for this idea. This encouraged the Assembly to move forward with it, hoping that, with the support of the two assemblies, it would have a chance of success.
11. The European Parliament organised a hearing in Brussels on 22 February 2006, on “Promoting Stability and Democratization in Our Neighbourhood: What Role for the EU in the South Caucasus?”. The Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly organised another hearing in Brussels on 12 May 2006 with the participation of representatives of the three countries concerned, the European Union, and other international players.
12. It was obvious at the time that the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus would require the full and active support of all those concerned.
13. The Assembly noted in 2006, however, that the idea of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus did not have sufficient support from all parties concerned, in particular the three Caucasus Republics, but also the European Union, Russia, Turkey and the United States. The hearings in Brussels had shown that all those concerned, involved or having a vested interest in the project seemed to be, for the time being, indifferent or even against the idea of the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus.
14. On behalf of the Political Affairs Committee, Mr Severin presented his report on 18 October 2006 and, in November 2006, the Assembly adopted Resolution 1525 (2006) and Recommendation 1771 (2006) on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus. Among other considerations, the Assembly pointed out that the pact should include the withdrawal of foreign military forces from the internationally recognised territory of another country, it being clear that co-operation was unrealistic as long as one country occupied the territory of another.
15. Whilst it resolved to pursue its efforts aimed at facilitating regional co-operation at the parliamentary level, the Assembly recommended that the Committee of Ministers:
  • consider the idea of the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus;
  • consider the possibility of organising an international conference on security and co-operation in the South Caucasus, with its main goal being to assess the specific needs and to establish the practical conditions for launching such a stability pact in agreement with all those concerned;
  • invite the authorities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to launch a serious political debate on this subject in their respective countries;
  • invite all other member States to examine the idea and consult other international players, particularly the European Union, on the possible establishment of a stability pact.
16. In its reply of 16 July 2007 (CM/AS(2007)Rec1771 final), the Committee of Ministers indicated that it shared the Assembly's concerns about the continued lack of a political solution to the various “frozen” conflicts in the South Caucasus and concurred with the idea of establishing reinforced regional co-operation that would help create a positive climate across the region, foster its economic development, reduce tensions and facilitate mutual understanding.
17. The Committee of Ministers considered, however, as did the Assembly, that the idea of a stability pact in the region had not yet gained sufficient, active, unreserved support from all the parties concerned, and that they were not yet ready to involve themselves in such a project. The time did not seem ripe to hold an international conference on the subject.


3. The second initiative

18. In 2011, the situation in the Caucasus region had not improved, notwithstanding the efforts aimed at strengthening democratic processes and promoting peaceful coexistence in Council of Europe member States from the region, and despite continuing work by the OSCE Minsk Group on the situation regarding Nagorno- Karabakh.
19. Unfortunately, not much has changed at the level of regional stabilisation. On the contrary, the rhetoric between Armenia and Azerbaijan has toughened. There are mutual threats of war and, without a peace agreement and co-operation between the countries in the region, there is a genuine risk of the conflict escalating.
20. Given the lack of success of all the measures taken in the last five years, and considering that the views of the parties concerned on a stability pact in the Caucasus might have evolved since 2007, a new motion for a resolution on a new parliamentary effort to create a stability pact in the Caucasus was tabled on 30 June 2011 by Mr Gross and others (Doc. 12680). The Political Affairs Committee appointed me as rapporteur on 14 November 2011.
21. The motion indicated that the Assembly should:
  • consider the necessity for the creation of a permanent dialogue and political, economic and cultural co-operation between the States from the Caucasus region;
  • invite Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to co-operate more actively with the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to achieve and strengthen stability and democracy in the Caucasus region;
  • invite the parties and civil society representatives of the countries concerned to discuss this idea and to reach an agreement for the establishment of a stability pact for the Caucasus region;
  • actively support and assist the OSCE Minsk Group in its effort to reach a lasting peace agreement.
22. To pursue our work at committee level, I started by consulting our colleagues from the three South Caucasus member States on their readiness to act with a view to establishing such a pact. Fact-finding missions to the area and a parliamentary hearing with the participation of those concerned were also proposed as being appropriate for achieving this goal.
23. In this respect, the success of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, which had been established by the European Union in co-operation with key international organisations operating in the region, could be an example. The concept of this Pact was the following: under the aegis of the Stability Pact, the countries concerned would elaborate projects of common interest involving two or three of them in different areas including infrastructure, economy, environment and social development. The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe did not have its own funds; its role consisted of looking for possible sources of financing and bringing together projects and donors.
24. At the beginning of 2012, meetings were held between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which seemed encouraging for an improvement of the situation in the South Caucasus. For example, on 23 January 2012, the two Presidents met in Krasnaja Poljana, near the resort of Sotchi. The meeting was mediated by the then Russian President, Mr Medvedev.
25. With the committee’s authorisation, I went to Georgia from 4 to 7 June 2012 in order to consult the Georgian authorities on the proposal to set up instruments for co-operation between the three south Caucasian States.
26. During this visit, I met representatives of international organisations, parliamentarians, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mr Tornike Gordadze, the Ambassador of Armenia, Mr Hovhannes Manoukian, and representatives from the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. The Ambassador of Azerbaijan, whom I had also asked to meet, was not available.
27. I was pleased to note that both the government and the opposition in Georgia supported the idea of establishing a stability pact in the South Caucasus. My interlocutors stated, however, that such a pact could only be successful if the Council of Europe and the European Union were to be actively involved in it and were ready to be the driving force. Georgia, for its part, was ready to be a partner in this process.
28. The Speaker of the Parliament, Mr David Bakradze, told me that Georgia would support any initiative whose aim was to increase stability in the region.
29. The Armenian Ambassador felt that the initiative was positive. He recalled, however, the role of the Minsk Group in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and advised that its work should not be interfered with.
30. During the Parliamentary Assembly’s June 2012 part-session, I met with Mr Davit Harutyunyan and Mr Samad Seyidov, Heads of the Armenian and Azeri delegations respectively, who agreed with my plan to visit both capitals and then, if reactions were positive, to organise a parliamentary round table to discuss how best to pursue the initiative.
31. A conference on Georgia’s European Way took place in Batumi in July 2012 in which the Presidents of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, together with European Union Commissioner Füle, responsible for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, were due to participate. If the presidents had participated, even if they did not hold direct talks, it would have shown a certain change in the attitudes of both countries towards possible reconciliation. Unfortunately this was not the case.
32. After the elections in Georgia in October 2012, a new political force – the “Georgian dream” coalition – came to power, and it is not clear yet whether or not it will pursue the commitments of the previous Government of Georgia in this respect.
33. Encouraged by a first, definitely positive visit, I started preparing a visit to Baku and Yerevan, due to have taken place in September 2012. Sadly, the Safarov case    (1)    See the press releases:    (1)    <a href='http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/NewsManager/EMB_NewsManagerView.asp?ID=7905'>http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/NewsManager/EMB_NewsManagerView.asp?ID=7905</a>; <a href='http://www.coe.int/t/secretarygeneral/sg/default_EN.asp'>www.coe.int/t/secretarygeneral/sg/default_EN.asp</a>; <a href='http://www.coe.int/t/commissioner/News/2012/120904Azerbaijan_en.asp'>www.coe.int/t/commissioner/News/2012/120904Azerbaijan_en.asp</a>. at the beginning of September, and the serious deterioration of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan which ensued, rendered my visit inopportune. The Assembly held a current affairs debate on the Safarov case on 4 October 2012.


4. Conclusion

34. Today, as in 2006, the establishment of instruments for co-operation between the three south Caucasian States would require the full and active support of all those concerned. Unfortunately, the climate, already unfavourable, has deteriorated to such a point that I do not consider it advisable to put forward concrete proposals at this stage.
35. Armenia and Azerbaijan must, however, be reminded of the commitments they entered into when they joined the Council of Europe, commitments which are monitored by the Assembly’s Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee).
36. The invitation extended by the President of the Assembly to the leaders of the delegations of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Parliamentary Assembly should be welcomed, but a greater involvement of the Assembly is needed.
37. The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could open up the opportunity to establish a stability pact and to promote greater regional co-operation in the South Caucasus. This is not only desirable for the Council of Europe, but also it is first and foremost in the interest of the people of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
38. During an exchange of views on this issue, held in Turin on 14 December 2012, the leader of the Armenian delegation, Mr Davit Harutyunyan, stated that, in the meantime, co-operation would be acceptable for Armenia in non-controversial areas such as:
  • environment;
  • trans-boundary water problems;
  • radio-frequencies;
  • cross-border co-operation to promote economic development; ensure secure and efficient borders; promote people-to-people co-operation through land border programmes between two or more countries sharing a common border; and multilateral programmes covering a sea basin;
  • transnational co-operation against cybercrime.
39. On 21 January 2013, the Azeri delegation sent me its position on this information report, further to which I made some corrections. The positive point is the fact that “the Azerbaijani delegation shares the view that there is a need to eliminate hate and establish trust in the region”, even if it feels that the differences between the two regions make it impossible to apply, in the South Caucasus, the example of the Security Pact for South Eastern Europe. It should also be noted as positive that the delegation believes “that public discussions on the issue should continue with a view to establishing common ground among the South Caucasian States. In this regard, the Azerbaijani delegation is of the opinion that contacts and interactions among the delegations of the South Caucasian States to the Parliamentary Assembly can contribute to this process, once these discussions are based on a concrete agenda.
40. The Azeri delegation “supports the idea of organising an international conference for security and co-operation in the South Caucasus, with its main goal being to assess the specific needs and to establish the practical conditions for launching such a Stability Pact”. It also “shares the necessity for the creation of a permanent dialogue between the States from the Caucasus region”, while regretting “that the conditions present on the ground are not conducive for that and, for the time being, these measures are not feasible in the region”.
41. As for the instruments for co-operation between the three South Caucasian States, the Azerbaijani delegation would like to “focus on current interactions among the parliamentary delegations to the PACE, which could contribute to the promotion of the idea of the stability pact at this stage of affairs”. However, it feels that “while Armenia continues to question the territorial integrity and internationally recognised borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan, there simply cannot be any ‘non-controversial’ issue between the two countries. Co-operation across the occupied territories is impossible both politically and practically”.
42. Provided that the three delegations concerned agree, the committee could organise a round table on these issues as a follow-up to this information report.

Appendix 1 – Relevant Assembly texts

Resolution 1525 (2006) on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus
Recommendation 1771 (2006) on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus
Opinion 221 (2000) on Armenia’s application for membership of the Council of Europe
Resolution 1532 (2007) on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Armenia
Resolution 1837 (2011) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia
Opinion 222 (2000) on Azerbaijan’s application for membership of the Council of Europe
Resolution 1750 (2010) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan
Resolution 1917 (2013) on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Azerbaijan
Opinion 209 (1999) on Georgia's application for membership of the Council of Europe
Resolution 1363 (2004) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Georgia
Resolution 1801 (2011) on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia


Rapport d'information
| Doc. 13135 | 18 février 2013
Nouveaux efforts parlementaires pour créer un pacte de stabilité dans le Caucase du Sud
Commission des questions politiques et de la démocratie
Rapporteur : M. Latchezar TOSHEV, Bulgarie, PPE/DC
Origine - Renvoi en commission: Doc 12680, Renvoi 3802 du 3 octobre 2011. Rapport d’information approuvé par la commission le 24 janvier 2013.

 Résumé

La commission des questions politiques et de la démocratie regrette profondément que les relations entre l'Arménie et l'Azerbaïdjan se soient détériorées à un point où des propositions concrètes pour la mise en place d'instruments de coopération entre les trois pays du Caucase du Sud ne peuvent pas être prises en considération.
Elle décide toutefois de publier ses efforts en tant qu’un rapport d'information.



1. Introduction

1. L’article 3 du Statut du Conseil de l’Europe énonce que «[t]out membre du Conseil de l’Europe reconnaît le principe de la prééminence du droit et le principe en vertu duquel toute personne placée sous sa juridiction doit jouir des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales. Il s’engage à collaborer sincèrement et activement à la poursuite du but défini au chapitre I».
2. Dans ses Avis 221 (2000) et 222 (2000) concernant respectivement les demandes d’adhésion de l’Arménie et de l’Azerbaïdjan au Conseil de l’Europe, adoptés le 28 juin 2000, l’Assemblée parlementaire avait estimé que les deux pays étaient capables, et avaient la volonté, de se conformer aux dispositions de l’article 3 du Statut. L’Assemblée avait également souligné que «l’adhésion des deux pays, l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan, pourrait contribuer à l’instauration du climat de confiance nécessaire à la solution du conflit dans le Haut Karabakh».
3. Dans ces deux avis, l’Assemblée a relevé que «les Présidents des deux pays [avaient] intensifié la fréquence de leurs rencontres. Les Présidents des Parlements d’Arménie, d’Azerbaïdjan et de Géorgie ont décidé de mettre en place la coopération parlementaire régionale, comprenant notamment des réunions des présidents des parlements et des séminaires parlementaires à tenir dans les trois capitales et à Strasbourg. La première rencontre dans la région, qui a eu lieu à Tbilissi, en septembre 1999, a permis d’établir un climat de confiance et de détente entre les délégations parlementaires de l’Arménie et de l’Azerbaïdjan». Enfin, l’Assemblée a appelé les responsables arméniens et azéris «à poursuivre leur dialogue pour finalement aboutir à une solution pacifique du conflit dans le Haut-Karabakh et à activer la coopération régionale».
4. Le rapporteur estime que les personnes qui vivent dans le Caucase du Sud ont droit à un avenir meilleur et à de plus grandes possibilités de développement économique, et le droit également de ne pas être pris en otage d’un conflit durable qui les prive d’une vie plus agréable.
5. Il faut pour cela adopter une approche «ascendante», partant des domaines où une coopération ne prêtant pas à controverse est possible non seulement entre les responsables politiques, mais aussi entre les citoyens ordinaires. Le but est d’améliorer le climat des relations dans le Caucase du Sud, d’éliminer la haine et d’encourager le dialogue en vue d’apporter une solution durable au conflit. A cet égard, l’exemple positif du Pacte de stabilité pour l’Europe du Sud-Est pourrait être pris en considération.
6. L’idée d'institutionnaliser la coopération dans le Caucase du Sud a été lancée pour la première fois simultanément par M. Kotcharian, Président de l’Arménie, et M. Aliyev, Président de l’Azerbaïdjan, lors du sixième Sommet des chefs d’Etat de l’OSCE, tenu en novembre 1999 à Istanbul; elle a été reprise ensuite par le Président turc sortant, M. Demirel, en janvier 2000 et de nouveau par M. Kotcharian en mars 2000. Toutefois, comme M. Adrian Severin l’a écrit dans son rapport de 2006 sur l’établissement d’un Pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud (Doc. 11082), ces propositions sont restées sans suite du fait des objections soulevées par la Russie et l’Iran concernant plusieurs de leurs aspects.
7. La première session de l’Assemblée plénière de l’Initiative parlementaire du Caucase du Sud (IPCS) a eu lieu le 20 décembre 2003 à Craigellachie, en Ecosse, avec la participation de délégations parlementaires venues d’Arménie, d’Azerbaïdjan et de Géorgie, sous la direction d’une présidence tournante. Au cours de cette manifestation, une rencontre bilatérale officielle a aussi été organisée entre les délégations parlementaires arménienne et azerbaïdjanaise. La deuxième session de l’Assemblée parlementaire de l’IPCS s’est tenue du 1er au 3 juillet 2004 à Sofia, en Bulgarie, et ce forum parlementaire a adopté ses statuts à cette occasion. Un représentant de la présidence néerlandaise de l’Union européenne, le Président en exercice de l’OSCE, le Président du Parlement bulgare et plusieurs membres de la délégation bulgare auprès de l’Assemblée parlementaire ont participé et contribué aux travaux de cette session. Ce forum a été actif jusqu’en 2007; ses activités ont ensuite été suspendues au cours de l’année 2008 faute de volonté politique de les poursuivre.
8. Voilà déjà vingt ans que le Conseil de l’OSCE (à l’époque le «CSCE») a demandé au Président en exercice de convoquer, dès que possible, une conférence sur le Haut-Karabakh, qui se tiendrait à Minsk, afin de fournir un cadre de négociation permanent pour un règlement pacifique de la crise. Le Groupe de Minsk, coprésidé par la France, la Russie et les Etats Unis, continue d’être chargé de l’effort de la communauté internationale pour trouver une solution politique à ce conflit mais, à ce jour, il n’a pas encore été possible de tenir ladite conférence.


2. La première initiative de l’Assemblée parlementaire

9. Sur la base de mon expérience de rapporteur de l’Assemblée sur le Pacte de stabilité pour l’Europe du Sud Est, et étant natif de cette région, j’ai déposé, le 5 mai 2004, une proposition de recommandation sur l’établissement d’un pacte de stabilité pour la région du Caucase (Doc.10175). La commission des questions politiques avait désigné comme rapporteur M. Adrian Severin, membre de la délégation roumaine auprès de l’Assemblée et Président de l’Assemblée parlementaire de l’OSCE.
10. Dans son rapport sur la Politique européenne de voisinage (PEV), adopté en 2005, le Parlement européen a fait part de son soutien à cette idée. Cela a encouragé l’Assemblée à aller de l’avant, dans l’espoir qu’avec le soutien des deux assemblées, cette idée aurait une chance d’aboutir.
11. Le Parlement européen a tenu le 22 février 2006 à Bruxelles une audition sur le thème «Promouvoir la stabilité et la démocratisation chez nos voisins: quel rôle pour l’UE dans le Caucase du Sud?». La commission des questions politiques de l’Assemblée parlementaire a organisé une autre audition à Bruxelles le 12 mai 2006, avec la participation de représentants des trois pays concernés, de l’Union européenne et d’autres acteurs internationaux.
12. Il était évident à l’époque que l’instauration d’un pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud nécessiterait le soutien entier et actif de tous les intéressés.
13. L’Assemblée a cependant constaté en 2006 que l’idée d’un pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud ne bénéficiait pas d’un soutien suffisant de la part de l’ensemble des intéressés, notamment des trois républiques caucasiennes, mais aussi de l’Union européenne, de la Russie, de la Turquie et des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. Les auditions tenues à Bruxelles avaient montré que tous ceux qui étaient concernés ou impliqués ou qui avaient un intérêt acquis vis-à-vis du projet semblaient être, pour l’instant, indifférents, voire opposés, à l’idée de l’instauration d’un pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud.
14. Au nom de la commission des questions politiques, M. Severin a présenté son rapport le 18 octobre 2006 et, en novembre 2006, l’Assemblée a adopté la Résolution 1525 (2006) et la Recommandation 1771 (2006) sur l’établissement d’un Pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud. Entre autres considérations, l’Assemblée a fait remarquer que le pacte devrait prévoir le retrait des forces militaires étrangères du territoire d’un autre pays reconnu internationalement, étant entendu qu’une coopération était irréaliste tant qu’un pays occupait le territoire d’un autre.
15. Tout en décidant de poursuivre ses efforts destinés à faciliter la coopération régionale au niveau parlementaire, l’Assemblée avait recommandé au Comité des Ministres:
  • d’examiner la possibilité d’instaurer un pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud;
  • d’examiner la possibilité d’organiser une conférence internationale sur la sécurité et la coopération dans le Caucase du Sud, principalement chargée d’évaluer les besoins spécifiques et de réunir les conditions pratiques nécessaires au lancement d’un tel pacte de stabilité, d’un commun accord avec toutes les parties concernées;
  • d’inviter les autorités de l’Arménie, de l’Azerbaïdjan et de la Géorgie à engager un débat politique sérieux à ce sujet dans leurs pays respectifs;
  • d’inviter tous les autres Etats membres à réfléchir à cette idée et de consulter les autres acteurs internationaux, notamment l’Union européenne, sur l’instauration éventuelle d’un pacte de stabilité.
16. Dans sa réponse du 16 juillet 2007 (CM/AS(2007)Rec1771 final), le Comité des Ministres a indiqué qu’il partageait les préoccupations de l’Assemblée face à l’absence persistante de solution politique aux différents conflits «gelés» du Caucase du Sud et qu’il soutenait l’idée d’une coopération régionale renforcée qui contribuerait à créer un climat positif dans toute la région, à favoriser son développement économique, à réduire les tensions et à faciliter la compréhension mutuelle.
17. Le Comité des Ministres estimait néanmoins, à l’instar de l’Assemblée, que l’idée d’un pacte de stabilité dans la région ne recueillait pas encore un soutien suffisant, actif et incontestable de la part de toutes les parties concernées, et que celles ci n’étaient pas encore prêtes à s’associer à un tel projet. Le temps d’organiser une conférence internationale sur le sujet ne paraissait pas encore venu.


3. La seconde initiative

18. En 2011, la situation dans la région du Caucase ne s’était pas améliorée, malgré les efforts visant à renforcer les processus démocratiques et à promouvoir une coexistence pacifique dans les Etats de la région membres du Conseil de l’Europe et en dépit du travail constant du groupe de Minsk de l’OSCE sur la situation concernant le Haut-Karabakh.
19. Malheureusement, il n’y a guère eu de changements au niveau de la stabilisation régionale. Au contraire, le ton entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan s’est durci. Il y a des menaces mutuelles de guerre et, en l’absence d’un accord de paix et d’une coopération entre les pays de la région, il y a un risque réel d’escalade du conflit.
20. Compte tenu de l’échec de toutes les mesures adoptées au cours des cinq dernières années, et eu égard au fait que les opinions des parties concernées à l’égard d’un pacte de stabilité dans le Caucase ont pu évoluer depuis 2007, une nouvelle proposition de résolution concernant de nouveaux efforts parlementaires pour créer un pacte de stabilité dans le Caucase a été présentée le 30 juin 2011 par M. Gross et plusieurs de ses collègues (Doc.12680). La commission des questions politiques m’a nommé rapporteur le 14 novembre 2011.
21. La proposition indiquait que l’Assemblée devrait:
  • examiner la nécessité de créer un dialogue permanent et d’instaurer une collaboration politique, économique et culturelle entre les Etats de la région du Caucase;
  • inviter l’Arménie, l’Azerbaïdjan et la Géorgie à coopérer plus activement avec le Conseil de l’Europe et l’Union européenne pour assurer et renforcer la stabilité et la démocratie dans la région du Caucase;
  • inviter les parties et les représentants de la société civile des pays concernés à discuter de cette idée et à parvenir à un accord sur l’instauration d’un pacte de stabilité pour la région du Caucase;
  • soutenir activement et assister le groupe de Minsk de l’OSCE dans ses efforts pour parvenir à un accord de paix durable.
22. Afin de poursuivre nos travaux au niveau de la commission, j’ai commencé par consulter nos collègues des trois Etats membres du Caucase du Sud pour savoir s’ils étaient prêts à agir en vue d’instaurer un tel pacte. Pour atteindre cet objectif, il a en outre été proposé d’effectuer des missions d’information sur place et d’organiser une audition parlementaire avec la participation des intéressés.
23. A cet égard, on pourrait prendre pour exemple la réussite du Pacte de stabilité pour l’Europe du Sud-Est, établi par l’Union européenne en coopération avec des organisations internationales de premier plan exerçant leurs activités dans la région. Le concept sur lequel reposait ce pacte était le suivant: sous l’égide du Pacte de stabilité, les pays concernés élaboreraient des projets d’intérêt commun faisant intervenir deux ou trois d’entre eux dans différents domaines dont les infrastructures, l’économie, l’environnement et le développement social. Le Pacte de stabilité pour l’Europe du Sud Est ne disposait pas de fonds propres; son rôle consistait à rechercher d’éventuelles sources de financement et à réunir projets et donateurs.
24. Début 2012, des réunions ont eu lieu entre les Présidents arménien et azerbaïdjanais et semblent présager d’une amélioration de la situation dans le Caucase du Sud. Par exemple, le 23 janvier 2012, les deux Présidents se sont rencontrés à Krasnaja Poljana, près de la station balnéaire de Sotchi. Cette réunion s’est tenue sous la médiation de M. Medvedev, alors Président de la Fédération de Russie.
25. Conformément à l’autorisation de la commission, je me suis rendu en Géorgie du 4 au 7 juin 2012 afin de consulter les autorités géorgiennes sur la proposition d’établir des instruments de coopération entre les trois Etats du Caucase du Sud.
26. Au cours de cette visite, j’ai rencontré des représentants d’organisations internationales, des parlementaires, le vice ministre des Affaires étrangères de Géorgie, M. Tornike Gordadze, l’Ambassadeur d’Arménie, M. Hovhannes Manoukian, et des représentants de la Fondation géorgienne pour les études stratégiques et internationales. L’Ambassadeur d’Azerbaïdjan, que j’avais aussi demandé à rencontrer, n’était pas disponible.
27. J’ai noté avec satisfaction que le gouvernement comme l’opposition en Géorgie soutenaient l’idée d’établir un pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud. Mes interlocuteurs ont toutefois souligné qu’un tel pacte ne pouvait être couronné de succès que si le Conseil de l’Europe et l’Union européenne y participaient activement et étaient disposés à en être les éléments moteurs. La Géorgie, pour sa part, était prête à participer à ce processus en tant que partenaire.
28. Le Président du Parlement, M. David Bakradze, m’a assuré que la Géorgie soutiendrait toute initiative qui aurait pour but de renforcer la stabilité dans la région.
29. L’Ambassadeur d’Arménie a estimé que l’initiative était positive. Il a rappelé, cependant, le rôle du groupe de Minsk dans le règlement du conflit du Haut-Karabakh et recommandé de ne pas s’immiscer dans ses activités.
30. Au cours de la partie de session de juin 2012 de l’Assemblée parlementaire, j’ai rencontré M. Davit Harutyunyan et M. Samad Seyidov, chefs respectivement des délégations arménienne et azerbaïdjanaise, qui ont approuvé mon projet de me rendre dans les deux capitales et d’organiser ensuite, si les réactions étaient positives, une table ronde parlementaire pour examiner les meilleurs moyens de donner suite à cette initiative.
31. En juillet 2012, à Batoumi, a eu lieu une conférence sur le thème «Georgia’s European Way» (la voie européenne de la Géorgie) à laquelle les Présidents de l’Arménie et de l’Azerbaïdjan ainsi que M. Füle, Commissaire de l’Union européenne en charge de l’élargissement et de la politique européenne de voisinage, devaient participer. Si les deux présidents avaient participé, même sans avoir engagé de pourparlers directs, cette manifestation aurait témoigné d’un certain changement d’attitude des deux pays vis-à-vis d’une éventuelle réconciliation. Malheureusement, ce ne fut pas le cas.
32. Les élections géorgiennes d’octobre 2012 ont porté au pouvoir une nouvelle force politique – la coalition «Rêve géorgien» – dont on ne sait pas précisément si elle assumera les engagements du précédent gouvernement à ce sujet.
33. Encouragé par une première visite incontestablement positive, j’ai commencé à préparer ma visite à Bakou et à Erevan, qui était programmée pour septembre 2012. Malheureusement, l’affaire Safarov au début du mois de septembre et la grave détérioration des relations entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan qu’elle a entraînée ont rendu ma visite inopportune. L’Assemblée a tenu un débat d’actualité sur l’affaire Safarov le 4 octobre 2012.


4. Conclusion

34. Aujourd’hui, comme en 2006, l’instauration d’instruments de coopération entre les trois Etats du Caucase du Sud nécessiterait le soutien entier et actif de tous les intéressés. Malheureusement, le climat, qui n’était déjà guère propice, s’est détérioré à un point tel qu’il ne me paraît pas judicieux de formuler des propositions concrètes à ce stade.
35. Il faut toutefois rappeler à l’Arménie et à l’Azerbaïdjan les engagements que ces pays ont contractés lorsqu’ils ont adhéré au Conseil de l’Europe, engagements dont le suivi est assuré par la commission de l’Assemblée pour le respect des obligations et engagements des Etats membres du Conseil de l’Europe (commission de suivi).
36. L’invitation adressée par le Président de l’Assemblée aux chefs des délégations arménienne et azerbaïdjanaise auprès de l’Assemblée parlementaire doit être saluée mais un engagement accru de l’Assemblée s’impose.
37. Le règlement du conflit du Haut Karabakh pourrait être l’occasion d’établir un pacte de stabilité et de promouvoir une plus grande coopération régionale dans le Caucase du Sud. C’est non seulement souhaitable pour le Conseil de l’Europe mais c’est aussi, et avant tout, dans l’intérêt de la population de la Géorgie, de l’Arménie et de l’Azerbaïdjan.
38. Lors d’un échange de vues sur cette question, tenu à Turin le 14 décembre 2012, le chef de la délégation arménienne, M. Davit Harutyunyan, a indiqué qu’une coopération serait d’ores et déjà acceptable pour l’Arménie dans des domaines ne prêtant pas à controverse, tels que:
  • l’environnement;
  • les questions transfrontalières d’approvisionnement en eau;
  • les fréquences radio;
  • la coopération transfrontalière pour promouvoir le développement économique, garantir la sécurité et l’efficacité des frontières, promouvoir la coopération entre les personnes au moyen de programmes entre deux pays ou plus ayant des frontières communes; et la mise en œuvre de programmes autour d’un bassin maritime;
  • la coopération transnationale contre la cybercriminalité.
39. Le 21 janvier 2013, la délégation azérie m'a envoyé sa position sur ce rapport d’information, à la suite de laquelle j'ai apporté quelques corrections. Le point positif est le fait que la délégation azérie partage le point de vue selon lequel il est nécessaire d'éliminer la haine et d’établir la confiance dans la région, même si elle estime que les différences entre les deux régions font qu'il est impossible d'appliquer dans le Caucase du Sud l'exemple du pacte de sécurité pour l'Europe du Sud-Est. Il convient également de noter avec satisfaction que la délégation estime que les discussions publiques sur la question devraient se poursuivre en vue d'établir un terrain d'entente entre les Etats du Caucase du Sud. A cet égard, la délégation azérie est d'avis que les contacts et les interactions entre les délégations des Etats du Caucase du Sud auprès de l'Assemblée parlementaire peuvent contribuer à ce processus, une fois que ces discussions seront basées sur un ordre du jour concret.
40. La délégation azérie soutient l'idée d'organiser une conférence internationale pour la sécurité et la coopération dans le Caucase du Sud, avec le but principal d'évaluer les besoins spécifiques et d'établir les conditions pratiques pour le lancement d'un tel pacte de stabilité. Elle partage également la nécessité de la création d'un dialogue permanent entre les Etats de la région du Caucase, tout en regrettant que les conditions présentes sur le terrain ne soient pas propices pour cela et que, pour le moment, ces mesures ne soient pas réalisables dans la région».
41. En ce qui concerne les instruments de coopération entre les trois Etats du Caucase du Sud, la délégation azérie aimerait mettre l'accent sur les interactions actuelles entre les délégations parlementaires à l'Assemblée parlementaire, qui pourraient contribuer à la promotion de l'idée du pacte de stabilité dans cette étape. Toutefois, elle estime que tandis que l'Arménie continue de mettre en cause l'intégrité territoriale et les frontières internationalement reconnues de la République d'Azerbaïdjan, il ne peut tout simplement pas y avoir de domaines ne prêtant pas à controverse entre les deux pays. La coopération entre les territoires occupés est impossible à la fois politiquement et pratiquement.
42. Sous réserve d’accord des trois délégations concernées, la commission pourrait organiser une table ronde sur ces questions dans le prolongement du présent rapport d’information.


Annexe 1 – Textes pertinents de l’Assemblée



Résolution 1525 (2006) sur l’établissement d’un Pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud
Recommandation 1771 (2006) sur l’établissement d’un Pacte de stabilité pour le Caucase du Sud
Avis 221 (2000) sur la demande d'adhésion de l'Arménie au Conseil de l'Europe
Résolution 1532 (2007) sur le respect des obligations et des engagements de l'Arménie
Résolution 1837 (2011) sur le fonctionnement des institutions démocratiques en Arménie
Avis 222 (2000) sur la demande d'adhésion de l'Azerbaïdjan au Conseil de l'Europe
Résolution 1750 (2010) sur le fonctionnement des institutions démocratiques en Azerbaïdjan
Résolution 1917 (2013) sur le respect des obligations et engagements de l’Azerbaïdjan
Avis 209 (1999) sur la demande d'adhésion de la Géorgie au Conseil de l'Europe
Résolution 1801 (2001) sur le respect des obligations et engagements de la Géorgie
Résolution 1363 (2004) sur le fonctionnement des institutions démocratiques en Géorgie





Some reflections :














Doc. 12680 / 30 June 2011
New parliamentary effort to create a stability pact in the Caucasus


Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr Gross and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it


The situation in the Caucasus region has not improved notwithstanding the importance of strengthening democratic processes and promoting peaceful coexistence in Council of Europe member states from the region and despite continuous work by the Minsk group of the OSCE on the situation regarding Nagorno Karabakh.
Unfortunately, since Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1525 (2006) on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus, not much has changed at the level of regional stabilisation.
On the contrary, the rhetoric between the two countries has hardened. There are mutual threats of war. An example of this is an article of 13 June 2011 in Az.com about Azerbaijan’s new military capacity.
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are now parties of the neighbourhood of the European Union.
Recalling its long-standing concern for democratic stability and security in the South Caucasus region, the Assembly closely monitored the situation in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia and contributed in its particular areas of excellence – democracy, rule of law and human rights – to the democratic transformation of the region;
Without a peace agreement and co-operation between the countries in the region there is a great risk for the conflict to escalate. The economic and democratic development in mainly Armenia and Azerbaijan also risks coming to a halt.
The Assembly should therefore:
-       consider the necessity for the creation of a permanent dialogue and political, economic and cultural co-operation between the states from the Caucasus region;
-       invite Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to co-operate more actively with the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to achieve and strengthen the stability and democracy in the Caucasus region;
-       invite the parties and the civil society representatives of the countries concerned to discuss together this idea and to reach an agreement for the establishment of a stability pact for the Caucasus region;
-       actively support and assist the OSCE Minsk group in its effort to reach a lasting peace agreement.
Signed (see overleaf)
Signed 1:
GROSS Andreas, Switzerland, SOC
ANDERSEN Karin, Norway, UEL
ANDERSON Donald, United Kingdom, SOC
ÁRNASON Mörđur, Iceland, SOC
CHRISTOFFERSEN Lise, Norway, SOC
FALZON Joseph, Malta, EPP/CD
FLEGO Gvozden Srećko, Croatia, SOC
GUNNARSSON Jonas, Sweden, SOC
HERKEL Andres, Estonia, EPP/CD
KEAVENEY Cecilia, Ireland, ALDE
KOX Tiny, Netherlands, UEL
KUBOVIČ Pavol, Slovak Republic, EPP/CD
MAISSEN Theo, Switzerland, EPP/CD
MAURY PASQUIER Liliane, Switzerland, SOC
MÓSESDÓTTIR Lilja, Iceland, UEL
NEGELE Gebhard, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD
RIHTER Andreja, Slovenia, SOC
ROUQUET René, France, SOC
RUPPRECHT Marlene, Germany, SOC
SCHENNACH Stefan, Austria, SOC
STUMP Doris, Switzerland, SOC
SUDARENKOV Valeriy, Russian Federation, SOC
von SYDOW Björn, Sweden, SOC
TOMLINSON John E., United Kingdom, SOC
TOSHEV Latchezar, Bulgaria, EPP/CD
WACH Piotr, Poland, EPP/CD

1     EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
      SOC: Socialist Group
      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
      EDG: European Democratic Group
      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
      NR: not registered in a group




The establishment of a stability pact on the Caucasian region
Doc. 101755 May 2004
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Toshev and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
Regarding the importance of strengthening the democratic process in Council of Europe member states from the region of the Caucasus;
Welcoming the activities and achievements of  the “Minsk-group” of the OSCE;
Taking into account that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia soon will become countries from the new neighbourhood of the European Union;
Stressing the need for improvement of the relations between these states and the creation of an atmosphere of mutual confidence which would play a very positive role for the stability of the entire region and its neighbouring areas;
Underlining the importance of cultural exchange and experience between Caucasian states, the economic co-operation and interdependence as well as the openess and transparency for the creation of real co-operation and trust in the Caucasian region;
Considering the importance of the accomplishment of the democratic reforms which could be achieved through close co-operation with the Council of Europe and the European Union - especially the creation of effective and accountable institutions open for NGOs, media and public, introducing real public service, the fight against corruption, political tolerance and respect of the differences of views, beliefs and religions,
Calls upon the Ministers:
  • to consider the necessity for the creation of a permanent dialogue and political, economic and cultural co-operation between the states from the Caucasian Region;
  • to invite Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to co-operate more actively with the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to achieve and strengthen the stability and democracy in the Caucasian Region;
  • to invite the parties concerned to discuss together this idea and to reach an agreement for the establishment of a Stability Pact on the Caucasian Region.


Signed [1]:

Toshev, Bulgaria, EPP/CD
Aguiar, Portugal, EPP/CD
Atkinson, United Kingdom, EDG
Berisha, Albania, EPP/CD
Bilic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Davis, United Kingdom, SOC
Dromberg, Finland, EPP/CD
Eorsi, Hungary, LDR
Frunda, Romania, EPP/CD
Glesener, Luxembourg, EPP/CD
Gross, Switzerland, SOC
Gubert, Italy, EPP/CD
Himmer, Austria, EPP/CD
Lelic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Lintner, Germany, EPP/CD
Maissen, Switzerland, EPP/CD
Matušic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Pourgourides, Cyprus, EPP/CD
Sasi, Finland, EPP/CD
Severinsen, Denmark, LDR
Skarbovik, Norway, EPP/CD
Spinddegger, Austria, EPP/CD
Van den Brande, Belgium, EPP/CD
van der Linden, Netherlands, EPP/CD

SOC
EPP
EDG
LDR
UEL
NR
Socialist Group
Group of the European People’s Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group









Resolution 1525 (2006)1
The establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus

1. The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its long-standing concern for democratic stability, security and well-being in the South Caucasus region. It has closely followed the situation in the three Caucasus republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and largely contributed, in its areas of excellence – democracy, rule of law and human rights – to the democratic transformation of the region.
2. The Assembly reiterates its concern that a political solution of the separatist conflicts in the region has not been achieved so far. The political, social and economic progress of the Caucasian countries, as well as regional co-operation seem to be hostage to those conflicts.
3. At the same time, while not wishing to interfere with the negotiation process among the parties in those conflicts, the Assembly strongly believes that it is its duty and it has the capacity to create a positive climate around the negotiations, thus facilitating their successful outcome. Such a climate could emerge if, in parallel to the negotiations and with separate efforts from each Caucasian country to internally enhance European values, the prospect for a regional strategy of co-operation and integration were defined by all those concerned and made available by the international community.
4. The Assembly also recalls its support for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as outlined in its Recommendation 1724 (2005) on this question, and welcomes the inclusion of the three Caucasian republics into the ENP. The Council of Europe contributes in an important way to the implementation of the action plans for the countries of the region.
5. The Assembly stresses that while political settlement of the conflicts in the region (including the conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhasia and South Ossetia) is necessary for further development in the political, economic and social areas of each and every Caucasian country, their prosperous and secure future cannot be guaranteed without regional co-operation and integration. The co-operation between those countries as such might also create a climate of trust favourable to the settlement of the conflicts or the prevention of new conflicts.
6. The Assembly strongly believes that for the Caucasian countries, such regional co-operation leading to regional integration is also necessary in order to overcome the liabilities related to the small dimensions of each of the national markets, the disparities in their natural resources and the difficult geopolitical conditions circumscribed by their geographical position as transition areas for crude oil and gas, by their political neighbourhood and by the controversies linked to the different agendas of the main international players in the region. It believes therefore that the international community should contribute more actively to the creation of favourable conditions for political talks as well as for institutionally-enhanced regional co-operation after, or in parallel with, the possible success of those talks.
7. The Assembly has closely examined the concept of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe with a view to drawing from positive experiences gained and to developing a possible stability pact for the South Caucasus, taking into account the significant differences between these regions particularly as regards geopolitics and specific concerns.
8. The Assembly is fully aware that despite numerous similarities between the Caucasus and the Balkans, there are important differences, the most important being that:
8.1. the “frozen conflicts” in the region which are impeding democratic, social and economic development have not yet lead to confrontational fatigue, which makes peaceful solutions and political compromises more attractive;
8.2. the Caucasian states do not have, for the moment, the prospect of European Union accession;
8.3. the international community is not in the position to develop the kind of presence in the region which would allow for political decisions to be in line with the strategic needs of regional security even if they conflict with national short-term agendas;
8.4. the international community is more divided over the international status and the political future of the area than in the case of the Balkans.
9. It is obvious that the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus would require the full and active support of all those concerned. However, the Assembly notes that the idea has not gained sufficient support from all parties concerned, in particular the three Caucasus republics, but also the European Union, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United States of America. The Caucasian countries feel that the priorities are different, namely the management of the different frozen conflicts. The international players are not yet ready to promote a common policy in the region, and therefore they have more trust in the instruments they can use within their bilateral relations with each of the Caucasian states.
10. Nevertheless, the Assembly also notes that despite those reservations it is possible that such a concept might become useful if the appropriate conditions are created, if the substance of the pact is sufficiently clarified and if it responds both to the need for stability and security of the South Caucasus as a region and to the various specific interests and concerns of the countries involved (including the main international players).
11. Therefore the Assembly believes that it is necessary to:
11.1. formulate the main principles and the basic guiding ideas for a stability pact for the South Caucasus as a starting point for further international reflection;
11.2. propose the initiation of an international conference on security and co-operation in the South Caucasus (ICSCSC) to evaluate the potential of such a stability pact and to offer incentives and assistance for its possible enhancement in the appropriate form and at the appropriate time.
12. The Assembly further believes that the above-mentioned international conference should adopt the pact in the form of a joint strategy which would include a joint offer for Caucasian states to which international players would contribute. This joint strategy should begin with the identification of the common interests of all the Southern Caucasian peoples and countries, achieved with the direct participation of their legitimate representatives. Such solidarity of interests – obviously including such goals as sustainable freedom, security, prosperity and dignity – once defined, should allow for the development of common projects aimed at achieving security through pluralist democracy and stability through sustainable development.
13. The Assembly also believes that the common projects forming the substance of the stability pact’s strategy should include measures aimed at encouraging and assisting regional integration through communication, consultation, confidence-building, co-ordination and co-operation among the South Caucasian players. Within this context, the Council of Europe should use its expertise in promoting programmes concerning inter-ethnic, inter-cultural and inter-religious respect and coexistence, as well as the establishment of transcaucasian civil society and political parties.
14. As long as the European Union cannot offer the Caucasian countries European Union membership it should offer them, together with the Council of Europe, full technical assistance and generous financial support in adopting and enhancing the European Union model in the South Caucasus. Within this process, the integration strategy of the region has to be based on the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity, transparency and accountability. At the same time, it should promote the free circulation of goods, capital and people in the whole region.
15. The Assembly is of the opinion that the stability pact’s mechanism must include three round tables – one on security, one on economy and social affairs and one on democracy and human rights – whose role will be to identify regional priorities in conjunction with national and local priorities and to define the necessary concrete programmes, which should be tailored to those priorities in the respective fields of competence. The respective programmes must have as their ultimate goal the gradual establishment of a South Caucasian internal free market, a South Caucasian economic and monetary union, and an area of security, freedom and justice (including social justice) in the region, possibly supported by a common taxation policy and a common defence identity.
16. The Assembly strongly believes that a stability pact for the South Caucasus must reiterate the principle of the total withdrawal of foreign military forces from the internationally recognised territory of another country and propose a mechanism for the implementation of such a principle. The pact should not try to identify or impose solutions to the existing frozen conflicts, but must create a favourable framework for those asked to find these solutions, including, among others, confidence-building programmes. In this respect, the ICSCSC could initiate a separate dialogue in an appropriate format for the negotiation of the said withdrawal of the foreign military forces under international guarantees and possibly their replacement by international peacekeeping forces under the United Nations flag.
17. The Assembly believes that the non-alignment of the South Caucasian countries with any third political and military regional alliance, other than the one they might want to establish together, would facilitate the feasibility and sustainability of peace, co-operation and integration in the region. However, this could not and should not prevent the South Caucasian countries establishing special economic partnerships which are consolidated and developed with global or regional players such as the European Union. Such partnerships should be coupled with a most-favoured-nation status granted to the countries which will have contributed to putting in place the stability pact for the South Caucasus. Likewise, the enhancement of the stability pact should imply adequate undertakings concerning fair and equal opportunities offered to those interested in the free transit of goods through the region.
18. Finally, the Assembly recommends that an international fund be established for the stability pact for the South Caucasus, composed of public and private donations. This fund could and should represent the most important, effective and transparent financial instrument for a coherent mobilisation and distribution of the financial resources required by the implementation of the programmes and policies promoted within and by the pact.
19. Furthermore, the Assembly resolves to pursue its efforts aimed at facilitating regional co-operation at the parliamentary level, and in particular to:
19.1. continue consultations at parliamentary level concerning the establishment of the stability pact for the South Caucasus and the feasibility of an international conference on security and co-operation in the South Caucasus;
19.2. advance its own reflection on this subject;
19.3. invite its committees to step up co-operation with their counterparts in the three South Caucasian republics with a view to organising joint regional events in their field of competence;
19.4. step up adequate parliamentary assistance programmes in support of the enhancement of a possible stability pact for the South Caucasus to be launched at the appropriate time.

1. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 17 November 20


Recommendation 1771 (2006)

The establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly
Origin - Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 17 November 2006 (see Doc. 11082, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Severin).
1. Referring to its Resolution 1525 (2006) on the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus, the Parliamentary Assembly reiterates the historical role of the Council of Europe in improving good governance, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, raising human rights standards and improving the protection of national minorities in Europe. The Assembly is convinced that a similar role should be played as regards the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus.
2. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
2.1. consider the idea of establishing a stability pact for the South Caucasus along the lines set out above;
2.2. consider the possibility of organising an international conference on security and co-operation in the South Caucasus, which would have as its main goal the assessment of the specific needs and the establishment of the practical conditions necessary for launching such a stability pact in agreement with all those concerned;
2.3. invite the authorities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to launch a serious political debate on this subject in their respective countries;
2.4. invite all other member states to examine the idea;
2.5. consult other international players, particularly the European Union, on the possible establishment of the stability pact;
2.6. encourage Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to establish regional co-operation irrespective of the state of development of work on the stability pact;
2.7. in the absence of a stability pact, elaborate on the mechanism for the creation of a permanent dialogue and of an international framework for political, economic and cultural co-operation between countries in the South Caucasian region, bearing in mind the principles and targets stated above;
2.8. step up the assistance programmes and activities aimed at the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, as well as respect and dialogue between the ethnicities, cultures and religions in the countries concerned;
2.9. invite the member states of the Council of Europe to contribute to the creation of a favourable climate and conditions for regional co-operation and political talks, including the support for comprehensive programmes for dialogue between peoples and confidence-building measures, in order to create a framework for a solution to “frozen conflicts” and the promotion of regional co-operation and integration.

Doc. 1136230 July 2007
The establishment of a Stability Pact for the South CaucasusRecommendation 1771 (2006)
Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 1002nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (12 July 2007)

1.       The Committee of Ministers informs the Parliamentary Assembly that the following reply was adopted by a majority as provided by Article 20 (d) of the Statute.
2.       The Committee of Ministers has taken note with great interest of the texts adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly concerning the establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus.
3.       As noted by the Assembly, the Council of Europe has played a very active role in the region since the accession of Georgia, and subsequently of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thanks to its convention mechanisms and its reform support programmes it has helped to promote good governance and to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the rights of national minorities. Moreover, by inviting these states to become members, the Organisation also aimed to create a climate conducive to overcoming the impediments to regional co-operation.
4.       The Committee of Ministers shares the Assembly's concerns about the continued lack of a political solution to the various “frozen” conflicts in the South Caucasus. These conflicts have negative repercussions on political, social and economic progress in the region. They have impeded the emergence of regional co-operation covering the whole South Caucasus. The Committee of Ministers would point out at this juncture that, upon their accession, the countries concerned undertook to solve these conflicts through peaceful means and according to the principles of international law, rejecting any threat to resort to force.
5.       The Committee of Ministers concurs with the idea of establishing reinforced regional co-operation which would help create a positive climate across the region, foster its economic development, reduce tensions and facilitate mutual understanding.
6.       The Council of Europe has moreover already taken a number of initiatives in this direction, not necessarily confined to the three countries concerned. The Kyiv Initiative launched in September 2005 following the STAGE project is intended to encourage democratic development through culture in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. A proposal for a Black Sea Euro region has also been launched by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. Other projects involving several countries in the region relate to history teaching or support for civil society operators.
7.       These initiatives are not isolated. Other forms of international co-operation concern the region, such as the Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM), the Organisation for Black Sea Economic Co-operation, the Community of Independent States or the Euro-Asian Economic Community. In this connection, mention must be made of the relevance of the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy. In 2006, the three states signed agreements with the European Union on the implementation of action plans under this policy. These action plans concern pursuit of the reform process, an area in which the Council of Europe and the European Commission are intensifying their collaboration. They also have a strong regional dimension. The Committee of Ministers recalls the conclusions of the 22nd Quadripartite meeting between the Council of Europe and the European Union, which, in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), considered that regular consultations involving the countries concerned, representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Union could take stock of progress achieved and look forward. Furthermore, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union signed in May 2007 notes that consultations between the European Commission, the Secretariat of the Council of Europe and as a general rule the Council of Europe member countries concerned will continue to be organised to discuss priorities of co-operation in the framework of the joint programmes. The above-mentioned action plans offer increased possibilities for co-operation in foreign and security policy matters, in particular regarding issues of regional stability and crisis management or the development of multilateral co-operation in the Black Sea region. The ENP should also enhance the participation of the countries concerned in regional co-operation initiatives in areas such as the environment, water management, energy, education, border management, transport and communications.
8.       While appreciating the arguments advanced in Recommendation 1771 (2006) in favour of a stability pact for the South Caucasus, drawing upon the Balkans precedent but adapted to the region's particularities, the Committee of Ministers is not convinced at this stage that the current efforts can and should be supplemented with an initiative of this kind.
9.       As the Assembly points out, the possible establishment of a stability pact for the South Caucasus would in any case require the active, unreserved support of all the potential participants in shaping such an initiative. The Committee of Ministers, however, considers, and here it shares the Assembly's concerns, that the idea of a stability pact in the region has not yet gained sufficient, active, unreserved support from all the parties concerned, who are not yet ready to involve themselves in such a project. The time does not seem ripe to hold an international conference on the subject.
10.       The Committee of Ministers nonetheless strongly encourages the authorities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to launch a constructive debate on overcoming the impediments to regional co-operation and to seize, through the international community, every opportunity to settle frozen conflicts and to establish forums conducive to the emergence of solid, sustainable political, economic and cultural regional co-operation on issues of common concern.




Socialist Group
Group of the European People’s Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group



 For debate in the Standing Committee — see Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure
Doc. 11082   18 October 2006

The establishment of a Stability Pact for the 

South Caucasus


Report

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: Mr Adrian Severin, Romania, Socialist Group



Summary
The Assembly believes that the prospect for a regional strategy of co-operation and integration in the South Caucasus defined by all those concerned and facilitated by the international community and carried out in parallel with the political process aimed at the settlement of the conflict in the region would contribute largely to the successful outcome.
The Assembly also notes that despite certain reservations all parties concerned admit the usefulness of such a concept if the appropriate conditions are created.
Therefore the Assembly calls on all stakeholders to launch a process of reflection on the idea of establishing a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus, and it also resolves to advance its own reflection on this subject.

A.       Draft resolution
1.       The Parliamentary Assembly recalls its long-standing concern for democratic stability, security and well-being in the South Caucasus region. Within this frame it has followed closely the situation in the three Caucasus republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and largely contributed, in its areas of excellence, namely democracy, rule of law and human rights, to the democratic transformation of the region.
2.       The Assembly reiterates its concern that a political solution of the separatist conflicts in the region has not been achieved so far. The political, social and economic progress of the Caucasian countries, as well as the regional co-operation looks to be hostage of those conflicts.
3.       At the same time, while not wishing to interfere with the negotiation process among the parties in those conflicts, the Assembly strongly believes that it is its duty and it has the capacity to seek to create a positive climate around the negotiations thus facilitating their successful outcome. Such a climate could emerge if in parallel to the negotiations and with the separate efforts from each of the Caucasian country to internally enhance European values, the prospect for a regional strategy of co-operation and integration is defined by all those concerned and is kept available by the international community.
4.       The Assembly also recalls its support for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as outlined in its Recommendation 1724 (2005) on the ENP, and welcomes the inclusion of the three Caucasian republics into the ENP. The Council of Europe contributes in an important way to the implementation of the action plans for the countries of the region.
5.       The Assembly stresses that while political settlement of the conflicts in the region (including the conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhasia and South Ossetia) is necessary for the further development in political, economic and social areas of each and every Caucasian country, their prosperous and secure future can not be guaranteed without a regional co-operation and integration. The co-operation between those countries as such might also create the climate of trust favourable to the conflicts` settlement or to avoiding new conflicts.
6.       The Assembly strongly believes that for the Caucasian countries such a regional co-operation leading to regional integration is also necessary in order to overcome the liabilities related to the small dimensions of each of the national markets, the disparities in their natural resources and the difficult geo-political conditions circumscribed by their geographical position as transition areas for crude oil and gas, by their political neighbourhood and by the controversies linked to the different agenda of the main international players in the region. It believes therefore that the international community should contribute more actively to the creation of favourable conditions for political talks as well as for an institutionally enhanced regional co-operation after or simultaneously with the eventual success of those talks.
7.       The Assembly has examined closely the concept of the Stability Pact for the South-Eastern Europe with a view to drawing from positive experiences gained and to developing a possible Stability Pact for the South Caucasus, taking into account the significant differences between these regions particularly as regards geopolitics and specific concerns.
8.       The Assembly is fully aware that despite numerous similarities, between the Caucasus and the Balkans there are important differences, the most important being that
8.1.       the frozen conflicts in the region which are impeding the democratic, social and economic development have not yet lead to that confrontational fatigue which makes peaceful solutions and political compromises more attractive;
8.2.       the Caucasian States do not have, for the moment, the prospect of EU accession;
8.3.       the international community was not in the position to develop that kind of presence in the region which allows for political decisions in line with the strategic needs of the regional security even if they are conflicting with the national short term agendas;
8.4.       the international community is more divided than the Balkans over the international status and the political future of the area.
9.       It is obvious that the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus would require the full and active support of all those concerned. The Assembly notes that the idea of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus has not gained sufficient support from all parties concerned, in particular the three Caucasus republics, but also the European Union, Russia, Turkey and the USA. The Caucasian countries feel that the priorities are different, namely the management of the different frozen conflicts. The international players are not yet ready for promoting a common policy in the region and therefore they have more trust in the instruments they can use within their bilateral relations with each of the Caucasian states.
10.       Nevertheless, the Assembly also notes that despite those reservations nobody excludes that such a concept might become useful if the appropriate conditions are created, if the substance of the Pact is clarified enough and if it responds both to the need for stability and security of the South Caucasus as a region and to the various specific interest and concerns of the countries involved (including the main international players).
11.       Therefore the Assembly believes that it is necessary to:
11.1.       formulate the main principles and the basic guiding ideas for a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus as a starting point for further international reflection;
11.2.       propose the initiation of an International Conference on Security and Co-operation in the South Caucasus (ICSCSC) to evaluate the prospective of such a Stability Pact and to offer incentives and assistance for its eventual enhancement in the appropriate form and at the appropriate time.
12.       The Assembly further believes that the above mentioned International Conference should adopt the Pact in the form of a joint strategy which would include a joint offer for Caucasian states to which international players would contribute. This joint strategy should start from the identification of common interests of all the Southern Caucasian peoples and countries, achieved with the direct participation of their legitimate representatives. Such solidarity of interests – obviously including goals as sustainable freedom, security, prosperity and dignity – once defined should allow for the elaboration of common projects aimed at achieving security through pluralist democracy and stability through sustainable development.
13.       The Assembly also believes that the common projects forming the substance of the Stability Pact strategy should include measures aimed at encouraging and assisting regional integration through communication, consultation, confidence building, co-ordination and co-operation among the South Caucasian players. Within this framework, the Council of Europe should use its expertise in promoting programs concerning the inter-ethnic, inter-cultural and inter-religions respect and coexistence, as well as the establishment of Trans Caucasian civil society and political parties.
14.       As long as the European Union can not offer the Caucasian countries EU membership it should offer them, together with the Council of Europe, full technical assistance and generous financial support in adopting and enhancing the EU model in the South Caucasus. Within this process, the Southern Caucasian integration strategy has to be based on the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity, transparency and accountability. At the same time, it should promote the free circulation of goods, capitals and people in the whole region.
15.       The Assembly is of the opinion that the Stability Pact’s mechanism should include three “Round tables” – one on security, one economy and social affairs and one on democracy and human rights – whose role should be to identify the regional priorities in conjunction with the national and local ones and to define the necessary concrete programmes to be enhance in light of those priorities in their respective field of competences. The respective programs must have as an ultimate goal the gradual establishment of a South Caucasian internal free market, a South Caucasian economic and monetary union, a South Caucasian space of security, freedom and justice (including social justice) eventually supported by a common taxation policy and a common defence identity.
16.       The Assembly strongly believes that a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus should reiterate the principle of the total withdrawal of foreign military forces from the internationally recognised territory of another country and should propose a mechanism for the implementation of such a principle. The Pact should not try to identify or impose solutions to the existing frozen conflicts but it must create a favourable framework for those asked to find them, including among others the confidence building programs. In this respect, the ICSCSC could initiate a separate dialogue in an appropriate format for the negotiation of the said withdrawal of the foreign military forces under international guarantees and possibly their replacement by international peace keeping forces under the UN flag.
17.       The Assembly believes that the non alignment of the South Caucasian countries to any third political and military regional alliance, other than the one they might want to establish together, would facilitate the feasibility and sustainability of the South Caucasian peace, co-operation and integration. However, this could not and should not prevent the South Caucasian countries establishing special, consolidated and advanced economic partnerships with global or regional players like the EU. Such partnerships should be coupled with the most favoured nation status granted to the countries which have contributed to putting in place the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus. Likewise the enhancement of the Stability Pact should imply adequate undertakings concerning fair and equal opportunities offered to those interested in the free transit of goods through the region.
18.       Finally, the Assembly recommends that an international Fund for the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus composed of public and private donations should be established. This Fund could and should represent the most important, effective and transparent financial instrument for a coherent mobilisation and distribution of the financial resources required by the implementation of the programs and policies promoted within and by the Pact.
19.       Furthermore, the Assembly resolves to pursue its efforts aimed at facilitating regional co-operation at the parliamentary level and in particular to:
19.1.       continue the consultations at the parliamentary level concerning the establishment of the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus and the feasibility of an International Conference on the Security and Co-operation in the South Caucasus;
19.2.       advance its own reflection on this subject;
19.3.       invite its committees to step up co-operation with their counterparts in the three South Caucasian republics with a view to organising joint regional events in their field of competence;
19.4.       step up adequate parliamentary assistance programmes in support of the enhancement of a possible Stability Pact for the South Caucasus to be launched at the appropriate time.
B.       Draft recommendation
1.       Referring to its Resolution …. (2006) on the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus, the Parliamentary Assembly reiterates the historical role of the Council of Europe in improving good governance, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, raising human rights standards and improving the protection of national minorities in Europe. The Assembly is convinced that a similar role should be played also as regards the establishment of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus.
2.       Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
2.1.       consider the idea of the establishment of the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus along the lines set out herein above;
2.2.       consider the possibility of organising an International Conference for the Security and Co-operation in the South Caucasus having as its main goal to assess the specific needs and establish the practical conditions for launching such a Stability Pact in agreement with all those concerned;
2.3.       invite the authorities of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to launch a serious political debate on this subject in their respective countries;
2.4.       invite all other member states to examine the idea;
2.5.       consult other international players, particularly the European Union, on the possible establishment of the Stability Pact;
2.6.       encourage Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to establish regional co-operation irrespective of the state of work on the Stability Pact;
2.7.       in the absence of the Stability Pact, elaborate on the mechanism for the creation of a permanent dialogue and of an international frame for a political, economic and cultural co-operation between the countries from the South Caucasian Region, having in mind the principles and the targets stated herein above;
2.8.       step up the assistance programmes and activities aimed at the promotion of democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights, as well as the inter-ethnic, inter-cultural-and inter-religions respect and dialogue in the countries concerned;
2.9.       invite its member states to contribute to the creation of a favourable climate and conditions for regional co-operation and political talks, including the support for comprehensive programs for inter-human dialogue and confidence building measures, in order to create a framework for a solution to the frozen conflicts and the promotion of the regional co-operation and integration.
C.       Explanatory memorandum, by Mr Severin, Rapporteur
I.       INTRODUCTION
1.       Democratic stability, security and well-being of the South Caucasus region is in the interest not only of those directly concerned but also of the countries which are in the region’s neighbourhood. The Council of Europe (CoE) which assembles all South-Caucasian republics on the one hand, and almost all other European countries on the other, is particularly well placed to contribute to the process aimed at achieving these objectives.
2.       The Parliamentary Assembly has been showing concern for the situation in the region since the outbreak of the armed conflicts. Several committees including the Committee on the honouring of obligations and commitments by member states of the CoE, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, the Cultural Committee, and in particular the Political Affairs Committee have been dealing with different aspects of the situation in the region. The most recent recommendation prepared by this Committee dates from January 2005 (Resolution 1416). Moreover, the Bureau established, in 2005, an Ad Hoc Committee on the implementation of Resolution 1416 (2005). The Ad Hoc Committee presented a report to the Bureau in January 20061, and is planning further action aimed at contributing to the creation of the positive climate around the negotiations.
3.       The inclusion of the three Caucasian republics into the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has proved that the European Union, for its part after a period of moderate interest and reluctance for more engagement in the region, has opted for active involvement. This development has created a new window of opportunity for a breakthrough in the political settlement and progress on the way to stability and economic growth in the region.
4.       It is obvious that the settlement of the conflicts by political means is a necessary pre-condition for development in the region. However, in anticipation of the final outcome of the peace process, the international community could contribute to the creation of the favourable climate and conditions for political talks. If the region and the region’s countries get some guarantees or at least a certain view of their prospective, the crises’ settlement process would be facilitated.
5.       In my view, this is the right moment to address problems of the region in a comprehensive way and the Council of Europe, for the reasons I mentioned above, is well placed to carry out this task.
6.       What I propose here is to look closer at the concept of a Stability Pact which has already been tested in the Balkans, with a view to possibly using its experience in the South Caucasus. This should be based on the acknowledgement of both similarities and differences between the Balkans and the South Caucasus.
7.       The motion for a recommendation was presented in 2004 on the initiative of Mr Toshev from Bulgaria. Mr Toshev, who is no longer member of the Parliamentary Assembly, used to be Rapporteur on the Stability Pact for the Balkans. He immediately noticed the chance offered by such an initiative to the troubled region.
8.       The idea of the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus was launched for the first time at the Istanbul Summit in November 1999 by Presidents Kocharian and Aliyev; it was then reiterated by outgoing Turkish President Demirel in January 2000, and again by Kocharian in March 2000. However, objections raised by Russia and Iran to various aspects of these proposals has left them, for the moment, without any follow up.
9.       Then, in the report on the ENP adopted in 2005, the European Parliament expressed its support for this idea. This encouraged me as Rapporteur on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly to advance with this idea, which with the support of two assemblies would have more chance of getting through.
10.       I participated on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly, in the Hearing organised by the European Parliament on "Promoting stability and Democratisation in Our Neighbourhood: what role for the EU in the South Caucasus?” held in Brussels on 22 February, and subsequently I have proposed continuing the reflection and that the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly organise the Hearing with participation of representatives of the three countries concerned, European Union, and other international players. This very informative Hearing was held in Brussels on 12 May 2006, and its conclusions are the basis for this memorandum.
11.       I do not exclude that following the discussion in the Committee on the occasion of the presentation of this memorandum I will consider it necessary to go to the region to get some additional information.

II.        PRESENT SITUATION IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS
i.       Active and latent conflicts 
 
12.       Over ten years have passed since the formal ceasefire agreements which ended the armed conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhasia. But in neither case, has the ceasefire been confirmed by a political settlement. Similarly the frozen conflict over South Ossetia makes the situation very unstable. The whole region is rife with conflict potential, the tension is present and armed incidents at the borders take place on an everyday basis.
13.       Developments since 2004 concerning the main conflict in the region over Nagorno-Karabakh, and in particular the so-called Prague Process, have given rise to some cautious optimism. Despite the lack of concrete results of the last meeting of Presidents Kocharian and Aliyev in Bucharest, on 4 June 2006, the mere fact that the dialogue is carried at the highest level is a positive sign which should be given utmost international support.
14.       In the meantime, however, the Azeri Government has almost doubled military spending in 2005 as compared to 2004. Georgia and Armenia’s military expenditure were also increased. For countries which cross a difficult process of state-building and societal modernisation and which badly need a sustainable economic development, such an unbearable military expenditures burden speaks for itself proving that the geo-political conflicts are keeping the social and economic progress prisoner.
ii.       Political instability

15.       All countries in the region suffer from the weak state syndrome. There are shortcomings in democratic institutions and the principle of the rule of law although the situation in Georgia has to a certain degree improved within the last few years.
16.       In November 2005, parliamentary elections were held in Azerbaijan and a referendum on constitutional amendments took place in Armenia. According to the official results, both were won by the government side, while the opposition suffered a crushing defeat. Allegations of massive fraud were largely supported by international observers including those from the Parliamentary Assembly.2
 
17.       All three countries are under the monitoring procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.3 The ENP Action Plans for each of the three countries fix objectives to be achieved in the democratisation process for the years to come and the Council of Europe plays an important role in their implementation.

iii.       Economy

18.       The latent and frozen conflicts, and in particular the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is impeding the economic and social development of both countries. It is indeed hard to ask countries in conflict or having occupied territories to co-operate.
19.       Thanks to rapidly increasing Azeri oil production, the GDP growth of this country is expected to achieve 27% this year. Gas production on a major scale will start soon. In parallel with the production increase, new energy infrastructure is being constructed (BTC pipeline, BTE gas pipeline BTK railway). As a result, country’s export revenues are booming and the strategic importance of the region is increasing considerably. Allegations of massive corruption, absence of major initiatives for using inflowing resources for long-term development and the apparent incapability of the political system to reform itself raise certain concern.
20.       The economic development is not so spectacular in Armenia, although the situation has improved considerably. However, economic blockages imposed by Azerbaijan and Turkey, and the lack of regional co-operation has impeded the natural development of the economy. Corruption is also a major problem in this country.
21.       Georgia’s economy, with the help of the IMF and World Bank, has made substantial economic gains since 1995, increasing GDP growth and slashing inflation.
22.       All three countries suffer from the displacement of their population. Azerbaijan has one of the largest per capital refugee and displaced person burden in the world. There are 578 000 internally displaced persons and 8 6064 refugees dispersed throughout the country. In Armenia there are 235 000 refugees as compared to 3,5 million inhabitants. The total number of internally displaced persons and refugees in Georgia accounts for 237 000. The population of Georgia is 5.5 mln.
23. Beside all these, each of the region’s countries is too small a market for attracting important investments from abroad. They are also very much dependent either on oil exploitation or its distribution, a fact which might be, on a short term, an asset but, usually, on the long term is a liability.

III.        COMPARISON OF THE STABILITY PACT FOR THE BALKANS AND CAUCASUS

24.       The Stability Pact for the Balkans has been established by the European Union in co-operation with key international organisations operating in the region. The concept is the following: under the aegis of the Stability Pact, the countries concerned elaborate projects involving two or three of them in different areas including infrastructure, economy and social development. The Stability Pact has no own funds, its role consists of looking for possible sources of financing and bringing projects and donors together.
25.       Despite certain criticism, there is a common agreement that the Stability Pact has contributed to the increase in regional co-operation and economic development in the Balkans.
26.       However, even if there are many similarities between the Caucasus and the Balkans, they cannot hide the differences. Whereas the Balkans are in the heart of Europe, the Caucasus is on its edge. Even if Europe gets more involved in the region it will remain only one of several interested parties including large states like Russia, USA, Turkey or Iran.
27.       Within this context, one should mention that the “internationalisation” of the Western Balkans took place before the launching of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. The NATO strikes and the international presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as the international isolation of the then Serbia-Montenegro, the most powerful country from the region have created an atmosphere of desperation and humility which together with the sense of external dependence made the project of the Stability Pact acceptable in the region.5
 
28.       However, the most important difference between the Balkans and the South Caucasus is that the frozen conflicts in the latter are still latent and in consequence the situation is unstable.
29.       Furthermore, the EU membership perspective is not present in the Caucasus unlike the Balkans. This perspective played an important role. Prospect of EU membership was a key incentive for the governments concerned to undertake reforms and most successes within the Stability Pact would not have been achieved without that perspective.
30.       Paradoxically the clear lack of prospective for the EU accession of the Caucasian States might eventually oblige them to understand that the only alternative they have is the regional integration versus a “satellitesation” (becoming satellites of one or more international power).
31.       Furthermore, other instruments may be used as leverage and the European Neighbourhood Policy which is shaped for the Caucasus is designed as such an incentive. This policy should offer the “EU model” as an incentive and as a reachable target, since the “EU membership” is not available or realistic.
32.       In conclusion, the Stability Pact for the Caucasus would have to be considerably different from the Stability Pact for the Balkans taking into account specific situation, geopolitics and particular concerns of the region. The Stability Pact for the South Eastern Europe could only be a source of inspiration from the point of view of the basic principles, and as a review of mistakes to be avoided.

IV.       PROJECT OF A WIDER BLACK SEA REGION

33.       On different occasions, including the Hearing held in Brussels, the project of the Wider Black Sea Region has been advanced. Its main idea consists of linking a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus with a similar project for the Black Sea Region, or alternatively to conceive a single Pact for both regions.
34.       However tempting, in my view, such a joint project is unrealistic at this stage but does not exclude returning to it at a later stage. For the time being both regions have different problems which need to be addressed separately.
35.       Another argument against such a wider pact is that it would be difficult to envisage real integration of such a vast region, in particular, taking into account that the countries composing both these regions have different status in international arena and resulting from it different political prospects and agendas. They include EU members, NATO members, CIS members, EU candidates, EU neighbours etc. These differences obviously imply different strategies and political ambitions.
36.       Last but not least one cannot avoid the fact that such a huge region could and would be perceived by the US as an EU substitute for their similar projects in the area and by Russia as another attempt to exclude it from the region by creating a heterogeneous local alliance sponsored and controlled by the EU.

V.        ATTITUDE OF THE COUNTRIES CONCERNED AND OF THE MAJOR INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS

37.       The Hearing in Brussels showed that all those concerned or involved or having a vested interest in the project seem to be for the time being indifferent or even against the idea of the establishment of the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus.
38.       Armenia would support the establishment of such a Pact if this would not weaken its position within the present status quo, in respect of which it could offer no real compromise solution yet.
39.       Azerbaijan, on the contrary, considers as a necessary condition a political settlement of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. In other words, it does not see the Pact as a chance for resolving the conflict. The Azeri representative at the Hearing put it very bluntly saying that Armenia’s withdrawal from Azeri territory is key to any prospects for regional co-operation.
40.       Georgia’s interest in the Pact is conditioned by its integration with NATO and EU. It is clearly said that Georgia does not wish to restraint its ambitions to regional integration and it does not want it to jeopardise its integration with international structures of its choice.
41.       Russia’s position is conditioned by its clear wish to maintain its presence and position in the region. It wants to preserve its alliances in the region and would certainly not allow it to transform the region into a rival power able to limit its manoeuvring capacity in the area.
42.       The European Union does not really consider the project as an improvement of the EU’s existing policy. The Commission’s representative at the Hearing in Brussels said that there was not much difference between the Stability Pact project and what the ENP was offering. However, one may assume that the EU would not oppose the establishment of the Pact as long as it did not hinder or overlap with the ENP. Unfortunately, the ENP is not entirely defined yet. Moreover, it is based rather on an individual than regional approach, which is not enough, to say the least.
43.       The position of the USA would be positive as long as the Pact would not stop its expansion towards the region under NATO coverage and would not hinder their capacity to intervene in the region whenever they feel that their interests there are threaten.
44.       Turkey would agree as long as the Pact would not weaken the territorial requirements of its ally and would not limit its traditional pre-eminence shared with Russia in the Black Sea region (as a country mandated by the Montreux Treaty to guard the straights).
45.       In conclusion, it is clear that the position of all those involved is unfavourable towards the present logic of the Pact. This observation implies one of the following two solutions: either the idea as a whole is abandoned or the logic of the Pact is changed. I, personally support the latter. In my opinion it should be modified in such a way as to respond at the same time to the need for stability and security of the Caucasus as a region and to the various ambitions and fears of the countries concerned. To this end, one must recognise the interests of each of the Caucasian countries (thus leaving them to become subjects of their own history) and of the international major players (whose interests are also legitimate at least to the extent to which they cannot be ignored).

VI.        GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE PACT

46.       Having presented the outline of the situation I conclude with the following: the international community cannot and should not impose any Stability Pact on the South Caucasian countries but it could undertake to impose a Stability Pact for or in respect of the South Caucasus on itself. It would mean a joint strategy – including a joint offer – to which different international actors would contribute.
47.       This joint strategy should consist of encouraging and assisting regional integration along the lines of five “C” approach – communication, consultation, confidence building, co-ordination and co-operation.

48.       Since EU membership could not be used as an incentive for the regional integration of the South Caucasian countries, the proposed substitute should be the “EU model”. The EU should offer clear and generous support in order to establish in the South Caucasus a “small EU” in the form of the Trans Caucasian or South Caucasian Commonwealth.

49.       The Stability Pact must be based on a well stimulated solidarity of interests of the South Caucasus countries which should allow for the elaboration of common projects aimed at achieving security through democracy, and stability through development. This approach would enable the overcoming of cultural / interethnic disputes by moving the debate from the irrational field of the identity confrontations to the rational field of meeting substantial needs.
50.       Other principles for the regional integration should be the subsidiarity, the solidarity, the transparency and the accountability;
51.       Furthermore, in order to calm down the frozen or latent conflicts one should not increase tensions by bringing new military forces in the area but by addressing the roots of those conflicts and create an environment favourable to their extinction. Accordingly, the military neutrality of the region should be the driving principle for dissipating the regional conflicts.
52.       The logic of the common market (including the EU internal market freedoms) connected to a common space of justice, security and development must drive the extinctions of the frozen conflicts motivating the secessionist regions to integrate into the Trans (South) Caucasian Commonwealth (once the external factors, calmed down by the neutrality of the area, stop promoting a divisive regional policy through local proxies).
53.       The Pact should include the withdrawal of foreign military forces from the internationally recognised territory of another country, being clear that a co-operation is unrealistic as long as one country occupies territories of another. Therefore the Pact should not impose anything but create a frame for a solution to the frozen crises - particularly the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - by creating a post crises perspective. I believe that the implementation of the Pact in the form of a common market following the European model would be the exit strategy from the Abkhazian and Osetian crises while the perspective to implement it could give a motivation for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s solution.
54.       The last point should consist in the main proposals for the Pact’s mechanisms. In this respect we have to preserve the three baskets or round tables: security – the main idea is the military and politic neutrality of the region under a certain international agreement guarantying it (the Caucasian countries will not be part of any military or political alliance where if  one of the three main international players – US, UE and Russia – are not members); economy – the main idea is to establish an internal Caucasian free market, followed by a monetary union and a harmonized tax policy, all these associated with investments (supported by international donors) addressed to the implementation of coherent regional programs of energy, agricultural, infrastructure and environment protection development; democracy – the main idea is to develop a system of decentralization, devolution and subsidiarity which could satisfy the autonomists movements in the region. (Of course the assistance for the accomplishment of the CoE commitments will continue.)

55.       Finally, one must add the establishment of an International Fund for the Stability Pact on South Caucasus formed by public and private donors. The Pact should be agreed perhaps within an International Conference on the South Caucasus initiated, why not, by the CoE and it should be seen as an international offer to the Caucasian countries which will be free to joint it or not. A PACE ad-ho (Sub) Committee on the preparation of that International Conference or on the promotion and enhancement of the Stability Pact for South Caucasus itself, could and should be also envisaged.

* * *
Reporting Committee: Political Affairs Committee
Reference to Committee: Ref. 2970, 21.06.04
Draft resolution and draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the Committee on 05 October 2006
Members of the Committee : Mr Abdülkadir Ateş (Chairman), Mr Konstantion Kosachev (Vice-Chairman) (alternate : Mr Victor Kolesnikov), Mr Zsolt Németh (Vice-Chairman), Mr Giorgi Bokeria (Vice-Chairman), Mr Miloš Aligrudić, Ms Birgir Ármannsson,  Mr Giuseppe Arzilli, Mr Claudio Azzolini, Mr Miroslav Beneš, Mr Radu-Mircea Berceanu, Mr Alexandër Biberaj, Ms Raisa Bohatyryova, Mr Luc Van den Brande, Mr Lorenzo Cesa, M. Mauro Chiaruzzi, Ms Elvira Cortajarena, Ms Anna Čurdová, Mr Noel Davern, Mr Dumitru Diacov, Mr Michel Dreyfus-Schmidt, Ms Josette Durrieu, Mr Mikko Elo, Mr Joan Albert Farré Santuré, Mr Pietro Fassino (alternate: Mr Pietro Marcenaro), Mr Per-Kristian Foss (alternate: Mr Vidar Bjørnstad), Mr Jean-Charles Gardetto, Mr Charles Goerens, Mr Daniel Goulet, Mr Andreas Gross, Mr Jean-Pol Henry, Mr Serhiy Holovaty, Mr Joachim Hörster, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Mr Elmir Jahić, Mr Miloš Jeftić, Mr Oskars Kastēns, Ms Darja Lavtižar-Bebler, Mr Göran Lindblad, Mr Younal Loutfi, Mr Mikhail Margelov, Mr Tomasz Markowski (alternate: Mr Andrzej Grzyb), Mr Dick Marty, Mr Frano Matušić, Mr Murat Mercan, Mr Jean-Claude Mignon, Mr Marko Mihkelson, Ms Nadezhda Mikhailova, Mr Aydin Mirzazada, Mr Joāo Bosco Mota Amaral, Ms Natalia Narochnitskaya, Mr Grygoriy Nemyrya, Ms Carina Ohlsson (alternate: Mr Pär Axel Sahlberg), Mr Theodoros Pangalos (alternate: Mr Panagiotis Skandalakis), Ms Elsa Papadimitriou, Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mr Gordon Prentice (alternate: Mr John Austin), Mr Gabino Puche, Mr Lluís Maria de Puig, Mr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando (alternate: Mr Leo Brincat), Mr Andrea Rigoni, Lord Russell-Johnston, Mr Oliver Sambevski, Mr Peter Schieder, Mr Ingo Schmitt, Mr Adrian Severin, Ms Hanne Severinsen, Mr Samad Seyidov, Mr Leonid Slutsky, Mr Michael Spindelegger, Mr Rainder Steenblock (alternate: Mrs Marieluise Beck), Mr Zoltán Szabó, Baroness Taylor of Bolton (alternate: Lord Tomlinson), Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu, Mr Tigran Torosyan, Mr José Vera Jardim, Ms Biruté Vesaité, Mr Varujan Vosganian, Mr David Wilshire, Mr Bart van Winsen, Mr Wolgang Wodarg, Ms Renate Wohlwend (alternate: Mrs Doris Frommelt), Mr Boris Zala, Mr Krzysztof Zaremba (alternate: Mr Karol Karski).
Ex-officio: MM. Mátyás Eörsi, Mats Einarsson,
N.B. : The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold
Head of the Secretariat : Mr Perin
Secretaries to the Committee: Mrs Nachilo, Mr Chevtchenko, Mrs Sirtori-Milner, Mrs Pieter, Mrs Dadoun

1 See Doc. AS/Bur/NK (2005) 02 rev. 2.
2 See Doc. 10751 (2005).
3 See Docs. 10569 (2005), 10383 (2005) and 10163 (2004).
4 All figures come from UNHCR Statistics (2004).
5 Even so, throughout the years it has appeared with clarity that a real sense of co-operation and security through a joint development was absent and consequently everybody was looking for the promotion of a separate agenda (the individual membership in the EU being a clear individual goal). Today, in spite of the Stability Pact, the Western Balkans continue the process of dismantlement in small states and refuses a regional integration as a preliminary step to the European integration.








Related theme :


Resolution 1409 (2004) 
 
Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact in South-East Europe


Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly
Origin - (see Doc.10349, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Toshev). Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 23 November 2004



  1. The Parliamentary Assembly recognises that during the five years of its activities the Stability Pact has proven itself to be an important and useful instrument in the process of stabilisation and democratisation in South-Eastern Europe. Since its creation, all countries of the region have become members of the Council of Europe and are considering becoming part of the European Union.
  2. The region of South-Eastern Europe is composed of states at different stages of development, with differing levels of compliance with European standards. Some of them are already members of the European Union, Bulgaria and Romania are committed to becoming full members of the EU on 1 January 2007 and the other states are participants in the Stabilisation and Association Process of the EU or are on the point of joining.
  3. The Assembly notes that the Stability Pact is unable to meet the high expectations of the countries from the region, which expected that the pact would be a new Marshall Plan, whereas it is a process based on the goodwill and solidarity of its participants.



4. Since the creation of the Stability Pact, the region has undergone crises – in Kosovo and in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” – but since then the overall security situation, with the exception of Kosovo, has improved considerably. The Assembly condemns the violence which took place in Kosovo in March 2004. Those regrettable events constituted a serious setback to development in Kosovo and to the entire region from an international perspective.
5. The notion of regional co-operation is firmly enshrined and it encompasses numerous areas, including the process of the creation of a regional single market, liberalisation of electricity markets, the combat against organised crime and corruption, the implementation of regional arms control mechanisms and many other fields.
6. One of the examples of co-operation is the return of over 2 million refugees to several countries of the region, despite strong initial hesitation on behalf of the governments concerned.
7. The Stability Pact, which plays a matchmaking role between donors and beneficiary countries, has been instrumental in setting priorities, avoiding duplications and consequently laying down economic foundations in the region.
8. However, despite these unquestionable achievements, the overall economic situation in South-Eastern Europe still remains precarious. In particular, the sustainability of economic growth, massive unemployment, especially in the Western Balkans, and poor development give much cause for concern. The Assembly appreciates the support provided by the Stability Pact to the infrastructural projects which could facilitate human relations in the region. In this context, the accomplishment of the work on pan-European Corridor 8 is of special importance.
9. Furthermore, the Assembly believes that it is of the utmost urgency to focus on the concept of social and economic cohesion and reconciliation between the groups involved in the conflicts, which has unfortunately been neglected over the last five years in the countries concerned.
10. The state of public administration presents another problem: public governance is weak and people do not trust in it. There are examples where it has been influenced by narrow nationalistic and populist interests. Its efficiency must be improved significantly.
11. Insufficient respect for the rule of law in some countries in the region is also worrying, despite efforts undertaken at the regional level. The fight against organised crime and corruption are among key issues which must be addressed.
12. The Assembly regrets that, despite the recognition that parliaments are an essential component in the democratic process, they have played a limited role in scrutinising the assistance given by the international community to the governments of South-Eastern Europe. The parliaments of the region have not been involved enough in the process and the participation of parliamentarians was often just a formality. In order to increase the efficiency and transparency of the governing structures in the region, more attention should be paid to building legislative capacity and to enhancing parliamentary co-operation between countries.
13. In this context, the role of the Stability Pact should be considered in a different perspective. The Stability Pact is constantly adapting to the changing situation in South-Eastern Europe and the Assembly recognises that the pact’s role has now changed. As the basis for further co-operation and development has been laid down, its main task today is to ensure the implementation of many important processes for which an agreement has already been secured.
14. The activities facilitating co-operation between states and activities inside countries aimed at promoting political and ethnic tolerance are still one of the mainstreams of the Stability Pact, especially in the Western Balkans.
15. The Parliamentary Assembly is of the opinion that along with the ongoing normalisation and stabilisation process in the region, the task of the Parliamentary Troïka has been fulfilled to a large extent. Now it should play a complementary role rather than a leading role, with the aim of promoting and supporting national initiatives to foster bilateral and multilateral regional co-operation and the creation of joint bilateral or multilateral committees, working groups or other bodies for co-operation at parliamentary level between the states of the region.
16. The Assembly’s Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Troïka, which starts on 1 January 2005, should provide an adequate platform for making contacts and be focused on encouraging and supporting national parliamentary initiatives.
17. The Assembly’s committees should be instrumental in inspiring and promoting regional parliamentary initiatives and co-operation by organising, in their respective fields of competence, conferences, seminars and round tables on co-operation with relevant committees in national parliaments of the region.
18. It is highly desirable that the local and regional authorities of the region co-operate through the activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, and interaction with the national parliaments and the Assembly, encouraging trans-border co-operation, especially through the establishment of trans-border Euroregions.
19. The Assembly underlines and supports the role of the Stability Pact Gender Task Force (GTF), where remarkable initiatives have been realised in recent years regarding parliamentary activities in promoting equality and better representation of women in political life.
20. The Assembly resolves to work towards increasing the role of national parliaments in the region to:
20.1. assume full responsibility for the parliamentary scrutiny of the Stability Pact activities in their respective countries;
20.2. elaborate and promote concrete projects and initiatives which could subsequently be developed and financed in the framework of the Stability Pact;
20.3. organise conferences, seminars and round tables which contribute to the setting of priorities and proposal of solutions;
20.4. elaborate projects aimed at reinforcing the capacity of national parliaments concerned, which would facilitate the carrying out of their obligations linked to the Stability Pact activities;
20.5. step up co-operation with other parliaments in the region with a view to contributing to Stability Pact action;

20.6. establish links between counterpart committees in different parliaments in the region and organise, between parliaments, exchanges, internships and twinning initiatives and the creation of joint committees and working groups on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

21. Furthermore, the Assembly calls on the Stability Pact co-ordinators to:
21.1. pay more attention to the role of national parliaments in the process of further stabilisation and democratisation in the region;
21.2. introduce parliamentary discussion in all Stability Pact Task Forces to ensure that they examine substantive issues.
22. The Assembly invites its relevant committees to:
22.1. consider the possibility of taking stock and assessing the achievements and planned activities of the Stability Pact on a country-by-country approach within the area of their respective competence, in close co-operation with the competent committees of the parliaments concerned;
22.2. promote regional parliamentary co-operation in their respective fields of competence by organising meetings, conferences and seminars jointly with national parliaments;
22.3. develop an assessment system for the results of the implementation of specific projects of the Stability Pact.
23. The Assembly resolves to work towards increasing the role of national parliaments in the region by:
23.1. supporting local initiatives in this respect;
23.2. stepping up its assistance in the area of reinforcing the capacity of national parliaments concerned, in particular in the following areas:
a. assistance to committees in preparing and reviewing legislation;
b. approximation of the legal systems and competences of local authorities in order to eliminate legal obstacles to the implementation of decentralised trans-border co-operation;
c. assistance with drafting, adopting, ratifying and controlling the implementation of legislation;
d. effective use of parliamentary procedures;
e. developing relations between parliaments and civil society.




Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact in South-East Europe

Doc. 1034920 October 2004
Report
Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur:
Mr Latchezar Toshev, Bulgaria, Group of the European People’s Party
For debate in the Standing Committee — see Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure

Summary
Five years after the establishment of the Stability Pact in South-East Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly takes stock of its achievements and failures and identifies the Assembly’s priorities for its 2005 Chairmanship of the parliamentary Troika.
The situation in the region has changed considerably and the process of stabilisation and democratisation have been advancing continuously. The notion of regional co-operation is firmly ingrained. All countries of the region have joined the Council of Europe and they are at different stages of co-operation with the European Union.
In this context, the role of the Stability Pact should focus on ensuring the implementation, at national level, of processes for which agreement has already been secured. This implies an increased role for national parliaments in the region.
The Parliamentary Assembly calls on the national parliaments to get more involved in the Stability Pact activities, assume full responsibility for the parliamentary scrutiny of the Stability Pact and step up the co-operation at parliamentary level, and declares its readiness to support them in this task.


I.Draft resolution [Link to the adopted text]

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly recognises that during the five years of its activities, the Stability Pact has proven to be an important and useful instrument in the process of stabilisation and democratisation in South East Europe. Since the establishment of the Stability Pact, all countries of the region have become members of the Council of Europe and have the prospect of integrating into the European Union.
2.       The region of South East Europe is composed of states at different stages of development and approximation to the European standards. Some of them are already members of the European Union, Bulgaria and Romania are committed to becoming full members of the EU on 1 January 2007 and the other states are participants in the Stabilisation and Association process of the EU or are on the point of joining.
3.       The Assembly notes that the Stability Pact was unable to meet the high expectations of the countries from the region which expected that the Pact would be a new Marshall Plan, whereas it is a process based on the good will and solidarity of its participants.
4.       Since the creation of the Stability Pact, the region has passed through the crises in Kosovo and in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” but since then the overall security situation, with the exception of Kosovo, has improved considerably. The Assembly condemns the violence which took place in Kosovo in March 2004. Those regrettable events constituted a serious setback to development in Kosovo and to the entire region from an international perspective.
5.       The notion of regional co-operation is firmly enshrined and it encompasses numerous areas, including the process of the creation of a regional single market, liberalisation of electricity markets, the combat against organised crime and corruption, the implementation of regional arms control mechanisms and many other fields.
6.       One of the examples of co-operation is the return of over two million refugees to several countries of the region, despite a strong initial hesitation on behalf of the governments concerned.
7.       The Stability Pact, which plays a matchmaking role between donors and beneficiary countries, has been instrumental in setting priorities, avoiding duplications and consequently laying down economic foundations in the region.
8.       However, despite these unquestionable achievements, the overall economic situation in the area still remains precarious. In particular, the sustainability of economic growth, massive unemployment, especially in the Western Balkans, and poor development raise much cause for concern. The Assembly appreciates the support provided by the Stability Pact to the infrastructural projects which could facilitate the relations between the people in the region. In this context, the accomplishment of the work on the pan-European Corridor 8 is of special importance.
9.       Furthermore, the Assembly believes that it is of utmost urgency to focus on the concept of social and economic cohesion and reconciliation between the groups involved in the conflicts which has been unfortunately neglected over the last five years in the countries concerned.
10.     The state of public administration presents another problem: public governance is weak and lacks the confidence of the people. There are examples where it has been influenced by narrow nationalistic and populist interests. Its efficiency must be improved significantly.
11.     Insufficient respect of the rule of law in some countries in the region is also worrying despite efforts undertaken at the regional level. The fight against organised crime and corruption are among key issues which must be addressed.
12.     The Assembly regrets that, despite the recognition that parliaments are an essential component in the democratic process, they have played a limited role in scrutinising the assistance given by the international community to the governments of South East Europe. The parliaments of the region have not been involved enough in the process and often the participation of parliamentarians was just formal. In order to increase the efficiency and transparency of the governing structures in the region, more attention should be paid to building legislative capacity and to enhancing parliamentary co-operation between the countries.
13.     In this context, the role of the Stability Pact should be considered in a different perspective. The Stability Pact is constantly adapting to the changing situation in South East Europe. Its main task today is to ensure the implementation of many important processes for which an agreement has already been secured. Activities facilitating co-operation between states and activities inside the countries aimed at promoting political and ethnic tolerance are still one of the mainstreams of the Stability Pact, especially in the Western Balkans.
14.     The Assembly recognises that the role of the Stability Pact has now changed. As the basis for further co-operation and development has been laid down, its main task today is to ensure the implementation of those processes for which an agreement has already been secured.
15.     The Parliamentary Assembly is of the opinion that along with the ongoing normalisation and stabilisation process in the region, the task of the Parliamentary Troika has been fulfilled to a large extent. Now it should rather play a complementary role than a leading role which would aim at promoting and supporting national initiatives towards bilateral and multilateral regional co-operation and the creation of joint bilateral or multilateral committees, working groups or other bodies for co-operation on parliamentary level between the states from the region.
16.     The Assembly’s Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Troika, which starts on 1 January 2005, should provide an adequate platform for making contacts and be focused on encouraging and supporting national parliamentary initiatives.
17.     The Assembly’s committees should be instrumental in inspiring and promoting regional parliamentary initiatives and co-operation by organising, in their respective fields of competence, conferences, seminars and round tables on co-operation with relevant committees in national parliaments of the region.
18.     It is highly desirable that the local and regional authorities from the region co-operate through the activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, as a body of the Council of Europe, and interaction with the national parliaments and the Assembly, encouraging trans-border co-operation, especially through the establishment of trans-border Euro-regions.
19.     The Assembly underlines and supports the role of the Stability Pact Gender Task Force (GTF) where remarkable initiatives have been realized in the last years regarding parliamentary activities in promoting equality and better representation of women in political life.
20.     The Assembly therefore calls on all parliaments of the region to:
i.                   assume full responsibility for the parliamentary scrutiny of the Stability Pact activities in their respective countries;
ii.                  elaborate and promote concrete projects and initiatives which could subsequently be developed and financed in the framework of the Stability Pact;
iii.                organise conferences, seminars and round tables which contribute to the setting of priorities, and proposal of solutions;
iv.               step up co-operation with other parliaments in the region with a view to contributing to Stability Pact action;
v.                 establish links between counterpart committees in different parliaments in the region, organise, between the parliaments, exchanges, internships and twinning initiatives and the creation of joint committees and working groups on bilateral or multilateral basis.
21.     Furthermore, the Assembly calls on the Stability Pact co-ordinators to:
i.                   pay more attention to the role of national parliaments in the process of further stabilisation and democratisation in the region;
ii.                   introduce parliamentary discussion in all Stability Pact Task Forces in order to efficiently connect it to substantive issues;
iii.                elaborate projects aimed at a reinforcement of the capacity of national parliaments concerned which would facilitate the carrying out of their obligations linked to the Stability Pact activities.
22.     The Assembly invites its relevant committees to:
i.                   consider the possibility of taking stock and assessing achievements and planned activities of the Stability Pact on a country-by-country approach within the area of their respective competence in close co-operation with the competent committees of the parliaments concerned;
ii.                  promote regional parliamentary co-operation in their respective fields of competence by organising meetings, conferences and seminars jointly with national parliaments;
iii.       develop an assessment system for the results of the implementation of specific projects of the Stability Pact.
23.     The Assembly resolves to contribute to the increase in the role of national parliaments in the region by:
i.                   supporting local initiatives in this respect;
ii.                  stepping up its assistance in the field of reinforcement of the capacity of national parliaments concerned, in particular in the following areas:
a.                  assistance to committees in preparing and reviewing legislation;
b.                  approximation of the legal systems and competences of local authorities in order to eliminate legal obstacles to the implementation of decentralised trans-border co-operation;
c.                  assistance with drafting, adopting, ratifying and controlling the implementation of legislation;
d.                  effective use of parliamentary procedures;
e.                  developing relations between parliaments and civil society.
II.        Explanatory memorandum

A.        Introduction
1.       The Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe (SP)[1] was signed in Cologne by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union on 10 June 1999. It was officially launched at the Sarajevo Summit in July 1999 as a collective effort of the European Union, the G8 (the eight countries of the region[2]) and the key international organisations including the Council of Europe, to address the post-war problems of the region.
2.       The project was aimed at the stabilisation of the Balkans through three areas of activities: democratisation, economic reconstruction and security. It was designed in such a way as to encourage interaction and co-operation between countries in the region, to remove mistrust, eliminate hatred, help economic integration and the development of an infrastructure and promote confident-building measures through bringing people together and involving them in activities of common interest. The mechanism which has been established under the auspices of the Stability Pact provides an effective platform for a regionally coordinated reform effort.
3.       The Stability Pact does not have its own funds. Its role is essentially limited to removing obstacles to regional co-operation on a political level and bringing projects and donors together. In order to qualify for the Stability Pact, the project should be regional in character and involve two, three or more countries. Project implementation and financing however is outside of the Pact’s competence and remains entirely in the hands of donors.
4.       The Stability Pact which has a regional office in Brussels and two regional sub-offices in Skopje and Sarajevo, is structured in a Regional table: the highest body consisting of representatives of all participating countries and organisations, meeting twice a year and reaching decisions by consensus, and three working tables designed as tools to improve good neighbourly relations between the countries of the region: Working Table I on Human Rights and Democratisation; Working Table II on Economic Reconstruction, Development and Co-operation, and Working Table III on Security Issues.
5.       The activities of the Stability Pact fall into approximately 25 areas which include economic co-operation, free trade and investment, local democracy and cross-border co-operation, energy market, fighting organised crime, migration, asylum and refugee returns, media, education and some others.
6.       The Council of Europe has been involved in many activities of the Stability Pact. In particular, the Council of Europe has been given specific responsibilities as sponsor of the task force on good governance of the Working Table I, and primary responsibility in the Task Force on minorities. It is also considered as a leading agency for two main projects of Working Table II, namely on functioning of an independent judiciary and on the fight against corruption and organised crime.
7.       The Parliamentary Assembly held a conference on the parliamentary contribution to the Stability Pact in November 1999 in Sofia. As a follow up to this conference, the Assembly adopted Recommendation 1452 (2000) on the Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact (Rapporteur: Mr Barsony).
8.       In 2001, following an invitation from the then Special Coordinator, Mr Hombach, to sponsor the parliamentary dimension of the Stability Pact, the Parliamentary Assembly agreed to participate, together with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament in the activities of the
Stability Pact. Thus the Parliamentary Troika on the Stability Pact was set up. Its rotating chairmanship runs for twelve months and on 1 January 2005 the Parliamentary Assembly will assume this role.
9.       Since its establishment, the Troika has organised four parliamentary conferences, under the initiative of the corresponding Chairmanship, with a view to establishing political guidelines and priorities for South East Europe and promoting inter-parliamentary exchange of views. These conferences aimed also at reinforcing the role of Parliaments in creating stability and sustainable political and economic development in the region. The fifth parliamentary conference on the Fight against organised crime in South Eastern Europe will be organised by the Troika’s current Chair, OSCE PA, in Sofia on 11-12 November 2004.
10.     Other initiatives aimed at promoting multilateral parliamentarian dialogue like seminars, networking meetings, visits to the countries etc. also took place under the initiative of each chairmanship of the Troika.
11.     This report which coincides with the Assembly’s Chairmanship, intends to take stock of what has been achieved over five years of the Stability Pact’s activities, and to identify the Assembly’s priorities for 2005 chairmanship.
B.        Achievements over the last five years
12.     The situation in South Eastern Europe has changed over the last five years in a considerable way. The process of stabilisation and democratisation has been continuously advancing with successful democratic elections repeatedly held in all countries concerned. Formerly hostile ethnic groups are now co-operating and jointly addressing common problems. The focus on the security area has clearly moved from military to justice and home affairs issues. The economic situation in the area still remains a concern, but important foundations have been laid and growth rates in all countries concerned have risen substantially. Other indications of stabilisation are also satisfactory, and thus the main aim of the Stability Pact has been achieved.
13.     The notion of regional co-operation is firmly ingrained and has gained clear support in all beneficiary countries, encouraged as a precondition for further European integration. In particular, the increasing role of the South-East European Co-operation Process is very promising. Furthermore, the international community, including financial institutions, has accepted to increasingly use this regional approach for large parts of their programming. It is necessary to ensure that these achievements are sustainable, and here the role of the Stability Pact is to continue its efforts in this direction.
14.     The concept of peer-review and peer-pressure has had a significant impact on the success of many regional activities under the aegis of the Stability Pact. Comparisons of the progress between different countries has turned out to be an important incentive to intensify own reform efforts.
15.     Matchmaking is another area where the Pact is also active. Bringing together donors and beneficiary countries, available funds and possible projects, setting priorities and avoiding duplications in the framework of balanced overall development has proved to be successful.
16.     One of the examples of the success of the Stability Pact activities is the return of refugees. Despite strong initial hesitations, the Stability Pact has brought the relevant governments of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina together and facilitated close co-operation to allow for the return of refugees between these three countries. In all over two million people have been concerned.
17.     Another good example of regional co-operation is the network of free trade agreements throughout the region. The Stability Pact has helped the region to make serious progress towards creating a single market of fifty five million people. As of 30 March 2004, twenty seven free trade agreements (FTAs) have been signed under the aegis of the Stability Pact’s Working Group on Trade Liberalisation and Facilitation, and the majority of these are already in force. The Group is now focused on the issue of identifying and reducing non-tariff barriers to trade.
18.     The Stability Pact Regional Energy Market Initiative (REM) has been working for creation, by 2005, of a liberalised electricity market along the lines of the EU legislation. At the same time, the Stability Pact should assist to diminish the unemployment which is expected as a consequence of the parallel projects for the creation of working places following social negotiations.
19.     Regional ownership for Stability Pact has launched activities such as combating organised crime (SPOC), fighting corruption (SPAI), and regional arms control (RACVIAC).
20.     The question of borders is tackled in the framework of the Ohrid Process on Border Management and Security which is a platform for discussion for all countries of the region. Furthermore, the countries concerned have signed a number of agreements concerning the activities of a cross-border nature, for example, on the joint management, protection and promotion of the Sava River basin.
C.        Outstanding problems
21.     The Stability Pact was unable to meet the high expectations of the countries in the region, and of the people in South East Europe who had expected this initiative to lead to the establishment of a kind of new Marshall Plan, which the Stability Pact was not. It is not even an international agreement, but a declaration based on the goodwill of its parties.
22.     The insufficient ability and mechanisms to compare the results and expectations of the projects and goals are still an open problem. The first goal: to bring people together, and to serve as a forum for discussions and negotiations, including on parliamentary level, was achieved. However, according to the Rapporteur’s assessment, in many cases the participation was formal.
23.     In the eventual case of a reduction of resources and contributions coming from non-European participants to the Stability Pact, which would prefer to allocate them to other regions, the Stability Pact would be transformed more and more into a supplement to the Stabilisation and Association Process of the European Union.
24.     There are also some reasons for concern: the rate and sustainability of economic growth are probably the biggest problems. This is exacerbated by high unemployment and, in parts, by a severe lack of investment. Since 2000, in terms of attracting investment, a gap has opened in South Eastern Europe. In 2003, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro secured approximately four billion Euros in foreign direct investment; the four remaining Stability Pact beneficiary countries have just managed to secure one billion Euros together.
25.     It is of utmost urgency to focus on the concept of social and economic cohesion which has unfortunately been neglected over the last five years. Today, there are two main threats to stability in the countries of the region: emigration of unemployed people and social-economic decline.
26.     The state of public administration is another matter for concern: public governance is weak and lacks the peoples’ confidence. It is often influenced by narrow nationalistic and populist interests. Furthermore, it is expensive and not effective.
27.     Insufficiency of respect of the rule of law also raises concern despite efforts undertaken at the regional level. The fight against organised crime and corruption are key issues which must be addressed.
28.     The violence in Kosovo last March obviously raises cause for much concern. This was a serious setback for the development of Kosovo and for entire region internationally.
29.     Despite the recognition that parliaments are an essential component in the democratic process, the international community has, in the past, focused most on its assistance to governments of South Eastern Europe. The Rapporteur is of the opinion that in order to increase the efficiency and transparency of the governing structures in the region, more attention should be paid to building legislative capacity and to enhancing parliamentary co-operation between countries.
D.        Future prospects
30.     Since the establishment of the Stability Pact, all countries of the region have joined the Council of Europe. The situation has furthermore evolved along with the EU enlargement process. Bulgaria and Romania have been given a tentative date for accession. The Feira European Council in 2000 recognised Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro as potential candidates for EU membership. The EU Summit in Thessaloniki in 2003 reaffirmed that “the Balkans will be an integral part of a unified Europe”. Following the positive opinion of the European Commission regarding the Croatian EU membership application, the EU has decided to commence negotiations for membership, which is an encouraging development for the region as a whole. The recent application submitted by “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to the Irish Presidency for EU membership must be seen as a commitment by Skopje to further reform.
31.     The prospect of “full integration” into the EU has proved to be a powerful incentive for reconciliation, co-operation and internal reforms in the region and has considerably facilitated the implementation of the Stability Pact activities. In recent years, the countries of the region have made great efforts to introduce wide-ranging political, economic and social reforms in order to achieve convergence with the Union. They have all signed Stabilisation and Association Agreements with the Union.
32.     In this context, the role of the Stability Pact should be considered in a different perspective. The Stability Pact is constantly adapting to the changing situation in South Eastern Europe. Its main task today is to ensure the implementation of many important processes for which an agreement has already been secured. Activities facilitating co-operation between states and activities inside the countries aimed at promoting political tolerance are still one of the mainstreams of the Stability Pact, especially in the Western Balkans
33.     Furthermore, the Stability Pact has also focused on a narrower range of activities than in earlier times. Whilst the early phase of the Pact sought to bring all activities in South Eastern Europe under one umbrella, the aim now is focused on those areas of a regional nature where the Pact can bring added value.
34.     As the basis for further co-operation and development have been laid down, the main task should focus on the correct implementation of different ranges of activities at national level.
E.         Importance of the parliamentary contribution
35.     This implies an increased role for national parliaments of the countries concerned which should assume full responsibility for the parliamentary guidance and control over the Stability Pact activities acting in co-operation with other assemblies in the region and supported by the parliamentary Troika.
36.     The need for increased parliamentary involvement and co-operation at the regional level has been acknowledged at the meeting of the Regional Table in Tirana in December 2003. It was agreed that an in-depth study should be conducted in order to identify the needs of the parliaments concerned and to clarify how parliamentary co-operation could be promoted and supported by the Stability Pact.
37.     The study, prepared by Ms Petra Blis, former Vice-President of the German Bundestag, on the basis of the contacts with all the parliaments concerned as well as with the assemblies of the Troika has confirmed that there is a strong regional demand for support mechanisms to be put in place in order to increase the efficiency of parliaments.
38.     The work of the regions’ parliaments is faced with many similar problems, and thus a long-term, regional approach would be most appropriate. Future programmes should pursue substantive issues thoroughly, whilst at the same time respecting the specific legislative needs of each country.
39.     The Stability Pact activities should focus on enhancing the exchange of information on parliamentary co-operation activities, developing links between committees of different parliaments dealing with similar issues, institutionalising training programmes for newly elected MPs and parliamentary staff and promoting twinning between parliaments.
40.     The role of the Parliamentary Tro�ka now should be rather a complementary one rather than a leading one, which is aimed at promoting and supporting national initiatives towards bilateral and multilateral regional co-operation.
41.     Consequently, the Rapporteur considers that the Parliamentary Assembly’s priorities for the forthcoming chairmanship should be focused on encouraging and supporting local initiatives at the parliamentary level.
42.     Now that all countries of the region are fully-fledged members of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly constitutes a good platform for developing contacts, elaborating initiatives and ideas which will materialise in regional co-operation at the parliamentary level. The last Conference of Speakers held in Strasbourg in May brought together the Presidents of all the Parliaments concerned, and provided them with a good opportunity to discuss further co-operation.
43.     The Assembly’s committees should be instrumental in promoting regional parliamentary co-operation in their respective fields of competence by organising meetings, conferences and seminars together with local parliaments. Such events could also be used as platforms for contacts between potential sponsors to projects of public importance representing for example financial institutions or multinational corporations, and organisations or institutions lobbying these projects.
44.     Reinforcement of the capacity of the national parliaments concerned to carry out their obligations linked to the Stability Pact activities would seem to be a necessary condition. Practical measures such as training of the newly elected parliamentarians in effective use of parliamentary procedures and increasing the professional qualities of parliamentary staff should be undertaken. The Parliamentary Assembly could certainly offer its assistance in this respect. Furthermore, staff exchanges between parliaments in the region, internships and twinning initiatives would be appropriate.
45.     The approximation of the legislation empowering local and regional authorities to facilitate trans-border co-operation including the establishment of trans-border Euro-regions could be an appropriate goal for joint parliamentary action within the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In this process, co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe and the UNDP could be most welcome.
46.     The year 2005 had been declared by the Council of Europe as a Year of Democratic Citizenship based on education. The Stability Pact could co-operate efficiently in the implementation of this programme in the countries of South East Europe.
47.     Parliamentary co-operation should be linked to the Stability Pact’s other Task Forces in order to be efficiently connected to substantive issues. At the same time it should be supported by the projects in the area of assistance to committees in preparing and reviewing legislation, assistance with drafting, adopting, ratifying and controlling the implementation of legislation; effective use of parliamentary procedures, developing relations between parliaments and civil society and others.
F.         Conclusions\
48.      When the previous report on the subject was presented by Mr Barsony in 2000, the Stability Pact was at a difficult stage. A multitude of projects and proposals had been put forward, but the important step of transforming them into action had not been taken yet. Four years later, the Stability Pact has contributed to the political stabilisation in the region.
49.      In view of a progressive European integration of the region, the Stability Pact can still play an important role by keeping its complementary approach to the Stabilisation and Association process and by further reinforcing co-operation among the countries concerned. It could still play an important role as a process of stabilisation and reinforcement of administrative capacity, the fight against corruption and building a civil society, creating a legal framework in accordance with European Standards and developing economic co-operation between the states and people which were previously in conflict. The need to accomplish the project for Pan-European Corridor 8 and other infrastructural projects connecting the people from the region should be specially underlined.
50.     Furthermore, the parliaments of the region should also be partners and beneficiaries of the Pact; initiators and targets of different activities.

Reporting Committee: Political Affairs Committee
Reference to Committee: Order 564 (2000)
Draft Resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee on 7 October 2004
Members of the Committee : Jakic (Chairperson), Margelov (Vice-Chairperson), Spindelegger, (Vice-Chairperson), Ates (Vice-Chairperson), Aguiar, Arzilli, Atkinson, Azzolini, Beneš, Berceanu, Bianco, Blankenborg, Bokeria, van den Brande, Brestensk�, Cekuolis, Curiel Alonso, Davern, Dreyfus-Schmidt, Druviete, Duivesteijn, Durrieu,  Elo, Goerens, Goulet, Gross, Hedrich, Henry, Hoerster, Iwinski (alternate: Jaskiernia), Jahic, Jovaševic, Judd, Kalezic, Karpov, Ko�i, Kosachev, Kostenko, Lindblad, van der Linden, Lloyd, Loutfi, Magnusson, Marty, Matušic, Medeiros Ferreira, Meimarakis, Mercan, Mignon, Mihkelson, Narochnitskaya, Nemcova (alternate: Curdova), Nemeth, Oliynyk, Pangalos, Petrova-Mitevska, Petursdottir, Pintat Rossell, Pourgourides, Prentice, Prijmireanu, Prisacaru, Puche, de Puig, Pullicino Orlando, Ranieri, Roth, Rzymelka, Severin, Severinsen, Seyidov, Slutsky, Szabo, Tekelioglu, Torosyan, Toshev, Tritz, Vakilov, Wielowieyski, Wohlwend, Wurm (alternate: Muttonen), Zacchera.
Ex-officio: Eörsi, Einarsson, Russell-Johnston
N.B: The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold
Head of the Secretariat: Mr Perin
Secretaries to the Committee: Mrs Nachilo, Mr Chevtchenko, Mr Dossow

[1]               The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe is sometimes confused with the Stability Pact of the European Union which is linked to the budget of the European Union and should be clearly distinguished from the stabilisation process going on in the Balkans.
[2]               Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Moldova, Romania and Serbia and Montenegro.



The establishment of a stability pact on the Caucasian region



Doc. 101755 May 2004
Motion for a recommendationpresented by Mr Toshev and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
Regarding the importance of strengthening the democratic process in Council of Europe member states from the region of the Caucasus;
Welcoming the activities and achievements of  the “Minsk-group” of the OSCE;
Taking into account that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia soon will become countries from the new neighbourhood of the European Union;
Stressing the need for improvement of the relations between these states and the creation of an atmosphere of mutual confidence which would play a very positive role for the stability of the entire region and its neighbouring areas;
Underlining the importance of cultural exchange and experience between Caucasian states, the economic co-operation and interdependence as well as the openess and transparency for the creation of real co-operation and trust in the Caucasian region;
Considering the importance of the accomplishment of the democratic reforms which could be achieved through close co-operation with the Council of Europe and the European Union - especially the creation of effective and accountable institutions open for NGOs, media and public, introducing real public service, the fight against corruption, political tolerance and respect of the differences of views, beliefs and religions,
Calls upon the Ministers:
  • to consider the necessity for the creation of a permanent dialogue and political, economic and cultural co-operation between the states from the Caucasian Region;
  • to invite Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to co-operate more actively with the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to achieve and strengthen the stability and democracy in the Caucasian Region;
  • to invite the parties concerned to discuss together this idea and to reach an agreement for the establishment of a Stability Pact on the Caucasian Region.
Signed [1]:Toshev, Bulgaria, EPP/CD
Aguiar, Portugal, EPP/CD
Atkinson, United Kingdom, EDG
Berisha, Albania, EPP/CD
Bilic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Davis, United Kingdom, SOC
Dromberg, Finland, EPP/CD
Eörsi, Hungary, LDR
Frunda, Romania, EPP/CD
Glesener, Luxembourg, EPP/CD
Gross, Switzerland, SOC
Gubert, Italy, EPP/CD
Himmer, Austria, EPP/CD
Lelic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Lintner, Germany, EPP/CD
Maissen, Switzerland, EPP/CD
Matušic, Croatia, EPP/CD
Pourgourides, Cyprus, EPP/CD
Sasi, Finland, EPP/CD
Severinsen, Denmark, LDR
Skarbøvik, Norway, EPP/CD
Spinddegger, Austria, EPP/CD
Van den Brande, Belgium, EPP/CD
van der Linden, Netherlands, EPP/CD

SOC
EPP
EDG
LDR
UEL
NR
Socialist Group
Group of the European People’s Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group






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