Cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean basin
- Arab EMBs - 5th General assembly and conference on "Youth participation in political life in the Arab Region"
22-24 August 2022
The Organisation of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) of Arab countries, assisted by the UN Development Programme’s Regional Electoral Support Project (UNDP), the Arab network for Youth in elections and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs of the UN (DPPA) organised the 5th General Assembly of Arab EMBs which was followed by an international conference on “Youth participation in political life in the Arab region”. These events took place in Amman, Jordan on 22-24 August 2022. The main objective of the conference was to facilitate the exchange of experiences, expertise and good practices among electoral management bodies and Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Arab region on youth participation in elections, including by identifying the gaps and challenges for meaningful participation of youth and the ways that EMBs and CSOs can collaborate to overcome these challenges. The Arab Youth Network in Elections, which aims to promote youth participation in the electoral process, was officially launched on this occasion. Representatives of the Venice Commission participated in the General Assembly and in the conference.
More information : https://arabembs.org/
- TUNISIA – Opinion on the draft State Property Code
In the framework of the preparation of the draft opinion on the Draft State Property Code, a delegation of the Venice Commission met online with Mr Mohamed REKIK, Minister of State Domains and Land Affairs, representatives of the Ministry of State Domains and Land Affairs and non-governmental organisations.
The request for this opinion was submitted by the Minister for State Domains and Land Affairs on 22 December 2021. The opinion was adopted at the 131st plenary session of the Venice Commission on 17-18 June 2022.
Text of the opinion
- TUNISIA - Urgent opinion on the constitutional and legislative framework concerning the referendum and the elections announced by the President of the Republic
The Venice Commission published on 27 May 2022 its urgent opinion for Tunisia on the constitutional and legislative framework concerning the referendum and the elections announced by the President of the Republic, and in particular on the Decree-law No. 22 of 21 April 2022, amending and supplementing the Organic Law on the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE).
The opinion was requested by the European External Action Service, introduced through the Delegation of the European Union in Tunisia and endorsed by the Venice Commission at its 131st plenary session on 17-18 June 2022.
Text of the urgent opinion
- 15th UniDem Med seminar on "Public service policies : paradigms for changes"
17-18 May 2022, Hybrid format (in Ramallah, Palestine* and on line),
The Venice Commission organised the 15th UniDem Med Seminar entitled "Public service policies : paradigms for changes", in co-operation with the General Personnel Council of Palestine*. This seminar took place on 17-18 May 2022 in a hybrid format : online and face-to face in Ramallah, Palestine*.
More than 300 international experts and senior public officials from the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia) attended the event.
More information on the 15th UniDem Med Seminar
- XI Congress of the Association of Francophone Ombudsmen and Mediators (AOMF) on "Digital transformation and access to rights, a common challenge in the French-speaking world: What role for Mediators and Ombudsmen?"
17-19 May 2022, Marrakech (Morocco)
The Venice Commission supported the XIth Congress of the Association of Francophone Ombudsmen and Mediators (AOMF), which took place on 17 and 18 May in Marrakech (Morocco) and brought together 78 participants from 24 institutions belonging to 18 countries in the French-speaking world (Africa, Europe and America).
The meeting, devoted to the theme "Digital transformation and access to rights, a common challenge in the French-speaking world: What role for Mediators and Ombudsmen?", was an opportunity for Mediators and Ombudsmen to exchange views through various workshops on the protection of personal data, access to rights in emerging countries or the guarantee of access to identity for all children. At the end of the Congress, AOMF members adopted the Marrakech Charter on the protection of the rights of users of public services in digital matters. Considering that digital transformation is disrupting public service delivery and user relations practices, the ombudsmen and mediators made recommendations to the authorities inviting them to set up or update a legal framework to guarantee the fundamental rights of users, such as respect for privacy, the right of access to the Internet and computer tools, with particular attention to protecting the most vulnerable.
The day after the Congress, on 19 May, the ombudsmen and mediators had the opportunity to discuss their role in monitoring public integrity and protecting whistleblowers during a seminar. Indeed, this role is still unknown to many, and it seemed relevant to raise awareness of the role that ombudsmen and mediators institutions can play in this area, and to allow those who already exercise this mandate to share their good practices.
More information on the AOMF website
- LEBANON – Opinion on the draft Law amending Legislative Decree n° 150/1983 on the Organisation of the Judiciary
In the framework of the preparation of the draft opinion on the draft Law amending Legislative Decree n° 150/1983 on the Organisation of the Judiciary, a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Beirut to meet with the representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Higher Judicial Council, the Parliament, the Constitutional Council, as well as with the representatives of the civil society and the judges’ associations.
The request for this opinion was submitted by the Minister of Justice of Lebanon on 6 September 2021. The opinion was adopted at the 131st plenary session of the Venice Commission on 17-18 June 2022.
Text of the opinion
- Training of trainers for members of the CEJJ and the Ministry of Justice of Tunisia
24-28 March 2022, Tunis,
A training to become trainers for the benefit of judges of the Centre for Legal and Judicial Studies (CLJS) and the Ministry of Justice was held from 24 to 28 March 2022. Fourteen (14) participants attended this event at the National Centre for Training of Trainers and Training Engineering (CENAFFIF), which has extensive expertise in this area.
This activity was organised by the Venice Commission, which supports the CLJS within the framework of the joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe "Improving the functioning, performance and access to justice in Tunisia" (AP-JUST). These trainings will allow the future trainers of the CLJS to master techniques and effective teaching methods to share their knowledge and know-how. Technical trainings on legislative drafting will be organised in the future in cooperation between the Venice Commission and the CLJS.
- Training of trainers for ISIE members and staff
16-23 March 2022, Tunis
A training course to become trainers for the members and staff of the High Independent Instance for Elections of Tunisia (ISIE) was held from 16 to 23 March 2022. Forty-seven (47) participants from Tunis and the regions attended this event at the National Centre for Training of Trainers and Training Engineering (CENAFFIF), which has extensive expertise in this field and whose training programme has been approved by the ISIE. This activity was organised by the Venice Commission, which supports the ISIE within the framework of the joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe "Project to support independent bodies in Tunisia" (PAII-T). These courses will enable future ISIE trainers to master effective teaching techniques and methods to share their knowledge and know-how. Technical training courses on the different professions of the ISIE will be organised at a later stage in cooperation between the Venice Commission and the ISIE.
- Modernisation of the public administration in the southern Mediterranean - UniDem Med - 7th coordination meeting
27 January 2022, on line
The 7th coordination meeting of the UniDem Med project (University for democracy for the Southern Mediterranean) took place by videoconference on 27 January 2022. This annual meeting gathered the national coordinators representing Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia in order to take stock of the 2021 UniDem Med seminars. The participants also discussed their respective priorities as regards modernisation of public administration and determined the topics, dates and venues of the UniDem Med seminars which will take place in 2022 as follows:
- “Public service policies: Paradigms of change”
15th UniDem Med Seminar, (videoconference or hybrid), Palestine*, 17-19 May 2022;
- “Digital transformation in public administration”
16th UniDem Med Seminar, (videoconference or hybrid), Morocco, 22-24 November 2022.
- Strengthening the quality of regulation and legislative drafting in Tunisia
2 December 2021, Tunis, Tunisia
In the framework of the Project “Improving the functioning, performance and access to justice in Tunisia” (AP-JUST), which is a joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe (2019-2022), the Venice Commission and the Centre for Legal and Judicial Studies (CEJJ), under the aegis of the Tunisian Ministry of Justice, organised a first general training workshop on the quality of regulation and legal drafting in Tunisia for the benefit of some twenty members of the CEJJ and senior officials of the Ministry of Justice.
The elaboration of quality legislative texts, in adequacy with the real needs of the Tunisian society, is one of the priorities of the AP-JUST programme and requires specific technical knowledge in order to guarantee an efficient and coherent regulation.
This workshop benefited from international (Switzerland and the Netherlands) and national expertise. It was an opportunity to present international best practices in this field while taking into account local specificities. It allowed to initiate the reflection with the representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the CEJJ, to clarify the bases necessary to be able to participate or manage effectively the legislative projects and to identify the more specific training needs which will follow later.
- 14th UniDem Med seminar – Good governance and quality of public administration
1-2 December 2021, on line, Morocco
The Venice Commission organised the 14th UniDem Med Seminar entitled "Good governance and quality of public administration", in co-operation with the Ministry of Digital Transition and Administrative Reform of the Kingdom of Morocco. This seminar took place in the form of a videoconference on 1-2 December 2021.
More than 100 international experts and senior public officials from the Southern Mediterranean (Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia) attended the event. On the basis of presentations by international and regional experts, participants exchanged and shared experiences on four sub-themes:
- Flexible, ethical and inclusive human resources management to improve performance and well-being at work in public administration;
- Ethics and codes of conduct in the public service: tools to strengthen citizens' trust;
- The right of access to information: towards a more open and transparent administration;
- A quality public service at the service of citizens: quality charters as a tool for good governance.
This seminar was also an opportunity to present the standards and work of the Council of Europe in this field, such as the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (CETS No. 205), also known as the Tromsø Convention, Recommendation 2000 (10) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on codes of conduct for public officials, the Guide on Public Ethics of the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (2019) or the Toolkit on Human Resource Management of the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance (2012).
- 13th UniDem Med seminar – Public Administration facing the COVID 19 pandemic: Modernisation and digital innovations
5-6 October 2021, hybrid format, (In Ramallah, Palestine* and online)
The Venice Commission organised the 13th UniDem Med Seminar entitled "Public Administration facing the COVID 19 Pandemic: Modernisation and digital innovations", in co-operation with the General Personnel Council of Palestine*. This seminar took place in an hybrid format on 5-6 October 2021.
More than 150 international experts and senior public officials from the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) participated online in the event, in addition to 80 face-to-face participants in Palestine*.
Based on presentations by European and regional experts, participants exchanged on the experiences during the Covid 19 Pandemic and more specifically on issues related to digital transformation, modernisation and digital innovations in public administration. The seminar was an opportunity to address the challenges of this digitalisation and in particular the issues relating to data protection and respect for fundamental rights. Its impact on the simplification of procedures and the user experience was also discussed through the presentation of several national experiences. The lessons of teleworking, personnel management and the digitalisation of human resources, including evaluation, training, recruitment and mobility, were also discussed. This seminar was an opportunity to present the standards and work of the Council of Europe in this area and in particular the Arabic version of the “Toolkit on teleworking in Public Administrations” initiated by the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance of the Council of Europe.
Towards strengthening the legal framework for referendums in Tunisia
15/07/2021, on line
In the framework of the Project to Support Independent Bodies in Tunisia (PAII-T), which is a joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe (2019-2021), the Venice Commission and the Higher Independent Electoral Body (ISIE) organised an online workshop on the referendum. In Tunisia, this term refers to a direct vote by the electorate of a state or local authority on a proposed law or on development and regional planning programmes, at the initiative of the President of the Republic or the President of the local authority or one third of the members of its Council, in accordance with the procedures defined by the legal rules in force. This workshop was attended by international and national experts, representatives of the ISIE, the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Union and other technical and financial partners. It provided an opportunity for reflection on the referendum in order to complete and finalise the legal framework for the referendum in Tunisia, in accordance with international standards, particularly those of the Venice Commission, and good practice in the field, taking account of local specificities. Certain fundamental notions have been clarified, such as, for example, the procedures for drawing up the question submitted to the referendum, the control of the constitutionality of the bill submitted to the referendum, the organisation and observation of the referendum, the effects of the referendum, the existence of a means of appeal and the effects of this appeal (partial or total annulment).
- Modernisation of the civil service in the southern Mediterranean - UniDem Med - 6th coordination meeting
27/05/2021, on line
The 6th coordination meeting of the UniDem project for the southern Mediterranean took place via videoconference on 27 May 2021. This annual meeting gathers national coordinators representing Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia. Participants took stock of the UniDem Med 2020 seminars and discussed their respective priorities as regards modernisation of public administration. During the meeting, the participants determined the topics, dates and venues of the next UniDem Med seminars in 2021.
- Towards the reinforcement of the legal framework relating to the electoral constituencies in Tunisia
30/03/2021, on line, Tunisia
Tunis - In the framework of the Project to Support Independent Bodies in Tunisia (PAII-T), a joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe (2019-2021), the Venice Commission and the Independent Superior Electoral Authority (ISIE) organised an online workshop on the issue of electoral constituencies in Tunisia. This term refers to the division of a territory into electoral districts, intended to promote the expression of citizens through voting. The division must be reviewed regularly in order to take into account the evolution of the population and to maintain a comparable number of voters per representative in all constituencies. The choice of this theme follows the recommendations of the 2019 electoral observation missions to Tunisia, which suggest, among other things, that the delimitation of electoral districts be updated.
This workshop was attended by international and national experts, representatives of the ISIE, the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Union and other technical and financial partners. It provided an opportunity to reflect on the electoral division and to present international standards and good practices in this area. Some fundamental notions were discussed, such as the principle of equality of electoral strength, which implies a periodic re-evaluation of the number of seats allocated to constituencies with clear and predetermined criteria. The weight of the votes of Tunisians abroad was also discussed. In this context, the experience of the ISIE during the last elections of 2019 was discussed. The body shared the difficulties encountered as well as the challenges raised, with a view to improving the legal framework relating to the electoral constituencies.
- Legislative and regulatory framework of Tunisian independent bodies: state of play and challenges
4/05/2020, Tunis, Tunisia
As part of the project to support independent bodies in Tunisia (PAII-T), the Venice Commission held a videoconference on 4 May 2020 on the theme "Legislative and regulatory framework of Tunisian independent bodies: state of play and challenges". This meeting provided an opportunity to reflect on the legislative and regulatory provisions governing independent bodies and brought together the presidents of the bodies, Tunisian and European experts as well as representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Union.
- Open Governement: international seminar with the National Human Rights Council of Egypt
25-26/02/2020, Cairo Egypt
Cairo - The Venice Commission organised a conference with the National Human Rights Council of Egypt entitled "Open Government" (Cairo, February 25-26, 2020). The general principles of open government, civic engagement, the role of the judiciary, administrations and Ombudsman institutions were discussed during this conference, which was the first organised by the Venice Commission with the National Human Rights Council of Egypt.
- Supporting the independent institutions of Tunisia
October-December 2019, Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis - As part of the joint Council of Europe-European Union project to support the independent institutions of Tunisia (PAII-T, 2019-2021), the Venice Commission organised several meetings and workshops in Tunis from October to December 2019. It organised on 3 October 2019 a meeting with representatives of Tunisian independent bodies to discuss the issues of strategic communication and ways to improve the visibility of the institutions. The seminar issued recommendations to be followed by the institutions in terms of internal and external communication. On 5 November 2019 the Commission organised another meeting to present before the independent bodies a diagnosis established by independent experts Ms Neila Chaabane and Mr Chafik Sarsar. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the finalisation of the normative framework of the bodies as well as their establishment and operation, analysing the achievements, lessons learned and to deliver recommendations. A seminar organised by the Venice Commission on 17 December 2019 allowed to discuss the budgetary issues and the financial autonomy in the light of the new texts related to independent bodies, such as the Tunisian Law on Budget adopted in 2019.
- Leading Innovation in the Civil Service : from Rule of Law Standards to Leadership : 10th UniDem Med
4-6/11/2019, Amman, Jordan
Amman - The Venice Commission, in co-operation with the Prime Ministry of Jordan /Institutional Performance and Policy Department and the General Personnel of Palestine, organised the 10th UniDem Med Regional Seminar entitled "Leading Innovation in the Civil Service : from Rule of Law Standards to Leadership ". This seminar brought together senior officials and experts from Europe and five Southern Mediterranean partner countries (Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia) to exchange best practices in terms of innovation and leadership in the civil service based on the respect of principles of Rule of Law and democracy. Participants discussred amongst others issues such as values of the civil service, ethics, transparency and integrity as accelerators for democratic reforms, the questions of enabling and measuring performance in the civil service as well as the best practices in terms of e-government.
Documents of the seminar
- The High Councils of the Judiciary and the Independence of Justice -7th Intercultural Workshop on Democracy
28-29/10/2019, Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg - The 7th intercultural workshop on democracy, organised by the Venice Commission in co-operation with the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) under the French Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, focused on High Judicial Councils and the independence of justice. In new democracies, setting up High Judicial Councils is a mean of guaranteeing the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and safeguarding the rule of law and democracy. The workshop aimed at supporting the functioning of such Councils and ensure that Council of Europe standards on appointment and evaluation of judges, co-operation with prosecutor’s offices, and communication and training are applied. The workshop brought together leading experts on the independence of the judiciary from Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. It is part of the joint Council of Europe-European Union’s programme entitled “Ensuring Sustainable Democratic Governance and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean”, South Programme III.
- Tunisian Authority of Sustainable Development and the Rights of Future Generations: the Venice Commisson adopts an opinion
21-22/06/2019, Venice, Italy
Venice - At its 119th session held from 21 to 22 June 2019, the Venice Commission adopted the opinion on the draft organic law on the Authority of Sustainable Development and the Rights of Future Generations. The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Energy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure and the Environment, Ameur Larayedh, also participated in the Commission's session. The adoption of the opinion was preceded by a visit of the Venice Commission to Tunisia in April 2019 and adoption of the draft law on 13 June 2019 by the Assembly of People's Representatives. The opinion was delivered within the framework of the Tunisian Independent Institutions Support Project (PAII-T) funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe. This bilateral project (2019-2021) includes Tunisia's cooperation with the Venice Commission with regard to the finalisation of the regulatory framework of Tunisian independent bodies and workshops with experts from the Venice Commission to allow full exercise of the powers of the institutions. The official launch of the project took place on 20th of June 2019 in Tunis and was attended by the presidents of all the independent institutions and senior Council of Europe representatives.
Text of the opinion
- Towards a public service closer to the citizens: 9th UniDem Med
12-14/06/2019, Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech - The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Ministry of Reform of the Administration and the Civil Service of the Kingdom of Morocco, organised the 9th UniDem Med Regional Seminar entitled "Towards a public service closer to the citizens: models and good practices ". The seminar brought together senior officials and experts from Europe and the Southern Mediterranean to exchange best practices in terms of bringing the administration and users closer together based on respect the rule of law and fundamental principles of the civil service. Participants discussed issues such as administrative deconcentration/decentralisation, accessibility and digitalisation of administrative services.
Final report (FR)
- The Venice Commission takes part in the 3d General Assembly of the Arab Electoral Management Bodies
3-5/02/2019, Sweimeh, Jordan
Sweimeh - The Venice Commission, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Independent High Electoral Commission of Jordan, supported the Organisation of Electoral Management Bodies of Arab countries in the preparation of the 3rd General Assembly of Arab Electoral Bodies (Arab EMB). The Assembly was followed by an international conference on the electoral dispute resolution. The conference gave an opportunity to the Electoral Management Bodies from the Arab States to exchange views about the international principles and standards in the field of electoral complaints and identify the key challenges facing the Arab EMBs and the judiciary in charge of the electoral dispute resolution.
Video of the event
- The Role and Place of Independent Bodies in a Democratic State : 6th Intercultural Workshop on Democracy
13-14/11/2018, Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis - The Venice Commission, in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, have organised the 6th Intercultural Workshop on Democracy on "The role and place of independent bodies in a democratic state". This regional event is held in Tunis from 13 to 14 November 2018 brought together leading European experts and senior officials from independent bodies of Tunisia and other countries of the Southern Mediterranean. The debates focused on themes such as: relations of independent bodies with the executive, legislative and judicial powers, composition, technical skills, accreditation and funding of bodies etc. The workshop is funded by the Joint Council of Europe-European Union Programme "Ensuring the Sustainability of Democratic Governance and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean", South Program III.
Conclusions of the workshop
List of Intercultural workshops
- 10th Congress of the Association of Ombudsmen and Mediators of the Francophonie (AOMF)
06-9/11/2018, Brussels, Belgium
Brussels - The Venice Commission was invited to the 10th Congress of the Association of Ombudsmen and Mediators of the Francophonie (AOMF) held on 6 - 9 November 2018 in Brussels and Namur (Belgium). This Congress entitled “20 years supporting ombudsmen and the rule of law” was also the occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the AOMF.
- Transformation and Innovation in the Senior Civil Service - 8th UniDem Med
24-27/9/2018, Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis - the Venice Commission in cooperation with the Presidency of the Government of Tunisia organised the 8th regional UniDem Med seminar from 24 to 27 September 2018 on the following theme “Transformation and Innovation in the senior civil service - challenges and opportunities”. Aroudn 50 senior public servants from the MENA region (Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia) attended the seminar as well as experts from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
UniDem Med on Facebook
- Morocco - Preliminary requests of constitutionality - Meetings at the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms and the Constitutional Court
18-19/9/2018, Rabat, Morocco
Rabat - At the request of the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms of the Kingdom of Morocco, a delegation from the Venice Commission met with the Moroccan authorities to prepare the draft organic law on the preliminary question of constitutionality and more specifically on the issues related to the implementation of the exception of unconstitutionality. The delegation was composed of members of the Venice Commission and members of Constitutional Courts of France and Italy. The Venice Commission delegation also met with the members of the Constitutional Court to exchange national views and experiences on the preliminary question of constitutionality. This activity is part of the joint Council of Europe - European Union program "Ensuring the sustainability of democratic governance and human rights in the southern Mediterranean".