The Council of Europe or CE according to Abbreviationfinder is facing major economic difficulties following the sharp enlargement, especially in the 1990’s. The organization finds it difficult to live up to the guidelines drawn up at the summits and to implement programs and activities that have been undertaken. The increased workload of the European Court of Justice means a particularly large strain on the budget.
The Council has found it difficult to persuade Member States to contribute increased funding. Warnings have been issued that the organization’s future is threatened unless the necessary funds are provided. From 2010, reforms were initiated to try to streamline work. As part of this, from 2012, a budget and business plan will be adopted for two years at a time, instead of for one year.
For 2012, the total budget was just under EUR 384 million (approximately SEK 3.6 billion) and for 2013 slightly above that figure.
In addition to administrative activities, the court is a major item of expenditure. Pharmacopoeia, a set of quality standards for medicines and cultural programs also cost a lot.
The budget must be balanced, ie revenue and expenditure must go up evenly. Most of the revenue comes from the Member States. They pay a certain amount according to key figures that are calculated in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) and population. Sweden’s contribution to the regular budget is about 2 percent. In addition, there are some voluntary contributions to special projects.
In addition to the regular budget, there are specific budget areas for so-called party agreements, cooperation agreements concluded only by certain Member States.
The budget process is carried out in such a way that the Secretariat presents a draft budget to the Committee of Ministers, which makes the final decision after the Parliamentary Assembly has given its opinion.
Complaints between states
A Member State or a group of countries may report another Member State for a violation of the European Convention. The intergovernmental goals are very few compared to those raised by individuals or groups of individuals.
The first intergovernmental case decided by the Court came in the 1970’s, when Ireland was right in its criticism of Britain. The criticism concerned interrogation methods against suspects in Northern Ireland. The Court found that the United Kingdom had violated the Convention, but no action was required as the interrogation methods had already ceased.
Another intergovernmental complaint was lodged by the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands against Greece’s military regime after the 1967 coup. However, it was not decided by the court as Greece voluntarily terminated its membership after it was ruled that it had violated several articles of the Convention. Greece rejoined the Council of Europe (CE) in 1974.
Another intergovernmental case concerned Turkey, which was accused by the Scandinavian countries, France and the Netherlands of human rights violations after a military coup in 1980. Turkey was expelled but became a member again in 1984 after parliamentary elections.
The number of complaints from individuals against Member States has increased many times over since the early 1990’s. One reason is that the number of Member States has doubled, and the democratic shortcomings are relatively large in several of the new countries. In addition, the European Court of Justice is today much more well-known among citizens, even in the old Member States.
The individual complaints concern, for example, corporal punishment, restriction of the rights of the mentally handicapped, the rights of prisoners, detention and detention periods for suspects, telephone tapping and legislation against homosexuality.
In order for an individual complaint to be taken up, the case must first have been up in the highest relevant instance in the designated country, and the complaint must concern a violation directed against the notifier himself.
Within the Council of Europe, however, the rapid enlargement was disputed. Many countries protested that the Council’s previous absolute requirement for a member state to be democratic, respect human rights and have a functioning judicial system has now rather become a goal that would be achieved after a number of years. The entry of Romania and Russia was particularly controversial. The majority, however, believed that the Council of Europe could make greater use of democracy, the rights of minorities and the protection of fundamental rights in countries with full membership. But enlargement required enormous resources, especially from the Parliamentary Assembly, which would investigate all candidate countries.
The new situation led to the Council of Europe (CE) holding its first summit in the autumn of 1993 in Vienna. The participating heads of state and government then decided, among other things, that the court would be reformed.
A second summit was held in Strasbourg in 1997. It was then decided that the work of consolidating democracy throughout Europe would remain a priority, as well as the work of respecting human rights and social issues. It was also decided to set up a Commissioner for Human Rights.
At the third Warsaw Summit in 2005, it was decided that the work of the Council of Europe (CE) should focus on the core areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Furthermore, it was decided to streamline the work and make it more accessible and visible to the public.
Following the Warsaw Summit, several measures have been taken to streamline work and reduce the number of subsidiaries.