Source description last updated: 20 January 2020
In brief:
The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (Coe-PACE) is an interparliamentary body consisting of 318 deputies from the parliaments of its 47 member states dealing with democracy, human rights and political, economic and social issues.
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„The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which held its first session on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary Assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an intergovernmental treaty.“ (CoE-PACE website: Origins and history, undated)
„The parliamentarians who make up PACE come from the national parliaments of the Organisation’s 47 member states. They meet four times a year to discuss topical issues and ask European governments to take initiatives and report back.“ (CoE-PACE website: Functioning, undated)
PACE’s aims are:
·         „Protection and strengthening of pluralistic democracy and human rights
·         Discussion of topical political, economic and social issues and questions of common concern
·         Promotion of European cultural identity“ (German Bundestag website, undated, working translation ACCORD)
The Parliamentary Assembly consists of the Bureau (one president, twenty vice-presidents, five chairpersons of the political groups and eight chairpersons of the general committees), the Standing Committee" (German Bundestag website, undated, working translation ACCORD) and nine general committees with additonal sub-committees:
"Though it has no power to pass binding laws, PACE holds a constant dialogue with governments, national parliaments, other international organisations and civil society […]
If it is concerned by changes in the laws or constitutions of a member state, the Assembly can ask the Council of Europe's Venice Commission – a group of independent legal experts – to give an opinion. These opinions carry great weight, and often result in the country concerned bringing its new law into line with Council standards.
If a state seriously violates Council of Europe standards, the Assembly has the power to suspend national delegations, or deprive them of their voting rights – a sanction it has used on several occasions. In the worst cases, it can recommend that a state be expelled from the Council of Europe.” (CoE-PACE website: The powers of the Assembly, undated)
Council of Europe funds.
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Council of Europe member states
Thematic focus: Democracy, human rights, political, economic and social issues
PACE-Reports based on the monitoring of political and human rights situations in member states are produced by one of the Assembly’s general committees, e.g. the Political Affairs Committees or the Monitoring Committee after conducting the mission.
Election observation reports are compiled by a committee created on an ad-hoc basis by the Bureau of the Assembly and given the mandate to conduct an election observation mission. The realisation of an observation mission is subject to an invitation issued by the State concerned. The election observation reports cover the political and legal framework of the election, candidate registration, election administration and campaigns, the situation of the media, election day and the results. The final part contains conclusions and recommendations. (see recent relevant PACE reports as published on the PACE website)
“It is up to the Bureau to decide whether it is necessary to conduct an election observation mission as well as a pre-electoral or post-electoral visit to the country concerned.
Following observation exercises, the delegation chairpersons draft reports on the observation of the elections, which are submitted to the Bureau and then to the Assembly in the Bureau's progress report.
The Assembly works with the OSCE PA, ODIHR, EP and NATO PA in its election observation missions.” (CoE-PACE website: Election Observation, undated)
Languages of publication:
English and French
Further reading:
Council of Europe – Parliamentary Assembly: Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, July 2019
All links accessed 6 December 2019.