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Activities by year: 2018

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117th Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

14/12/2018 - 15/12/2018
Venice, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Ombudsman Institutions – “Venice Principles” – Meeting of stakeholders

31/10/2018
Paris - The Working Group will meet with International organisations and Ombudsman Institutions for an exchange of views on the Draft Principles on the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman Institution (“the Venice Principles”).

116th Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

19/10/2018 - 20/10/2018
Venice, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Ombudsman Institutions - Venice Principles – 5th Meeting of the Working Group

17/10/2018
Venice - This is the 5h meeting of the Working Group in charge of drafting a List of Constitutional and Legal Principles on Ombudsman Institutions, the so-called “Venice Principles".

The meeting aims at analysing the latest written comments to the 1st draft of the Venice Principles sent to the Secretariat of the Venice Commission. The meeting aims also to prepare the oral consultation of all stakeholders which will take place on 31 October 2018, in Paris.

High-level conference on “The future of international election observation”

10/10/2018 - 11/10/2018
European Parliament, Brussels – The Venice Commission will participate in a high level conference on “The future of international election observation”. This event is organised by the European Parliament's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) and the European External Action Service of the European Commission. The conference will discuss new challenges that observer organisations must take into account in their observation processes, including the use of digital technologies and social networks, but also violence during electoral processes.

Democratic institutions – Ombudsman - AOMF

09/10/2018 - 11/10/2018
Rabat - In cooperation with the Association of Mediators and Ombudsmen of the Francophonie (AOMF), a seminar on « Managing newcomers” is organised by the Ombudsman Institution of Morocco and the Venice Commission. This workshop gathered collaborators of Ombudsman institutions for an exchange of experiences and best practices.

This activity is covered by the programme “Ensuring Sustainable Democratic and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean” funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Democratic institutions - Ombudsman - IOI

01/10/2018 - 03/10/2018
Brussels - The Venice Commission is invited to participate in the Ceremony of the 40th Anniversary of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
On this occasion a conference on “Ombudsman in an open and participatory society“ is organised by the Federal Ombudsman of Belgium.

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” - Consultative referendum related to the bilateral agreement with Greece

29/09/2018 - 01/10/2018
Skopje – A delegation of the Venice Commission will accompany the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) referendum observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the consultative referendum, to be held on 30 September 2018, related to the bilateral agreement signed with Greece on 17 June 2018.

This agreement envisages constitutional amendments that would change the name of the country to the “Republic of North Macedonia”. This agreement would also lead to the EU and NATO membership talks.

The PACE delegation will observe the opening, voting ... read more

Transformation and Innovation in the Senior Civil Service – 8th UniDem Med Seminar

24/09/2018 - 27/09/2018
Tunis - The Venice Commission, in cooperation with the Presidency of the Government of Tunisia, is organising the 8th UniDem Med regional seminar from 24th to 27th September 2018 in Tunis, Tunisia. The seminar entitled “Transformation and Innovation in the Senior Civil Service: challenges and opportunities” will gather some 50 senior servants and experts from 11 European and southern Mediterranean countries, namely Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia. They will exchange best practices as regards the process of innovation in the civil service against a backdrop of respe... read more

Albania – Forthcoming opinion - Visit to the country

19/09/2018
Tirana - A delegation of the Venice Commission and the OSCE / ODIHR visited Albania as part of the preparation of the joint opinion on the draft law on the legislative initiative of citizens. The request for an opinion came from the Speaker of the Parliament of Albania, Mr Gramoz RUÇI on 27 July 2018.

The draft opinion is on the agenda of the plenary session of October 2018.

Morocco – Preliminary requests of constitutionality - Meetings at the Constitutional Court

19/09/2018
Rabat - A Venice Commission’s delegation is meeting the Constitutional Court in order to exchange views and national experiences on the preliminary request of constitutionality. The delegation consists of members of the Venice Commission and members of constitutional courts of France, Italy and Spain.

This activity is part of the programme “Ensuring Sustainable Democratic and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean”, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Morocco - Preliminary requests of constitutionality - Meetings at the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms

18/09/2018
Rabat - At the request of the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms of the Kingdom of Morocco, a Venice Commission’s delegation met with the authorities in view of the preparation of the draft organic law on prejudicial requests of constitutionality. The delegation consisted of members of the Venice Commission and members of constitutional courts of France, Italy and Spain.

This activity is part of the programme “Ensuring sustainable democratic and human rights in the Southern Mediterranean” funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION IN MONTENEGRO – NO OPINION OF THE VENICE COMMISSION EXISTS

14/09/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - A paper called « DRAFT JOINT INTERIM OPINION OF THE VENICE COMMISSION AND THE OSCE OFFICE FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (OSCE/ODIHR) ON THE DRAFT LAW ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OF MONTENEGRO » dated 27 November 2015 was made available by mistake on the Commission’s website.

Such document is a very preliminary paper which was never validated by the rapporteurs, nor by the Commission itself. As such, it does not convey the views of either the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR rapporteurs or the Commission or ODIHR themselves.

Thi... read more

Tunisia - forthcoming opinion on political parties and their financing - visit to the country

13/09/2018 - 14/09/2018
Tunis - By letter dated 18 June 2018, Mr Mehdi BEN GHARBIA, the Minister for the Relations with the Constitutional Instances, Civil Society and Human Rights, requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft organic law on the organisation of political parties and their financing.

Following this request, a delegation from the Venice Commission visited the country to exchange views with the authorities and other stakeholders.

The Venice Commission plans to prepare the relevant opinion for its next plenary session to be held on 18-20 October 2018 in Venice.

Romania - forthcoming opinion on amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code - visit to the country

13/09/2018 - 14/09/2018
Bucharest - A delegation of the Venice Commission visited Romania in the framework of the preparation of an opinion concerning the recent amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code passed by the Romanian parliament. The opinion was requested by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The delegation exchanged views with the President of Romania, the Minister of Justice, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terror... read more

2018 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM)

12/09/2018
Warsaw – Venice Commission participated in the 2018 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM).

Deputy Secretary of the Commission Ms Simona Granata-Menghini introduced the 4th Working Session “Rule of Law I” devoted to the independence of the judiciary, the right to a fair trial, and democratic law-making.

Ukraine - draft Election Code - Regional public discussions - 3d round

12/09/2018 - 14/09/2018
The third and the last round of regional public discussions of the draft Election Code of Ukraine was held in Dnipro on 12 September (Hotel "Abri", 11h00) and in Lviv on 14 September (Hotel "Dnister", 11h00).

These regional events were held with the aim of discussing the main issues of the draft Election Code with the interested parties, as well as developing recommendations upon the results of these discussions in preparation of the draft Code for the second reading in the Verhovna Rada.

The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, deputies and representatives of loca... read more

Ukraine - Constitutional Justice

10/09/2018
Kiev - In co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the Venice Commission organised a conference on the newly introduced constitutional complaint to the Constitutional Court.

This activity was organised in the framework of the Ukraine Action Plan of the Council of Europe.

Uzbekistan – Forthcoming opinion on the draft electoral code – Visit to the country

06/09/2018 - 07/09/2018
Tashkent - Following the request by the Chair of the Central Election Commission of 15 July 2018, the rapporteurs of the Venice Commission and experts of the OSCE/ODIHR visited Tashkent on 6-7 September 2018 for exchanges of views with the authorities on the draft electoral code.
The draft opinion is on the agenda of the October plenary session.

Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO) - 27th Annual Conference

05/09/2018 - 07/09/2018
Vilnius - The Venice Commission participated in the 27th Annual Conference of the ACEEEO, devoted to the topic of ‘Guaranteeing voter privacy, security and integrity’; in particular, one workshop was devoted to cyber security.

On the side-lines of this conference, representatives of the Commission participated in a meeting on the development of a European / Eurasian network of electoral jurisprudence.

European Law Institute (ELI) – 2018 Annual Conference

05/09/2018 - 07/09/2018
Riga - The Venice Commission participated in the 2018 Annual Conference of the European Law Institute (ELI), by presenting a report on "The Common Constitutional Traditions in Europe".

Constitutional Justice - Korea

02/09/2018 - 05/09/2018
Seoul - The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe was invited to the International Conference on "Constitutional Justice and Democracy" at the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea.

The President of the Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio participated in the opening session of the Conference.

Malta makes voluntary contribution

31/08/2018
On 20 July 2018 the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to its statutory contribution, made a voluntary contribution of 20,000 € to the Venice Commission’s budget for its activities in the Southern Mediterranean region.

Kazakhstan - forthcoming opinion on the draft administrative procedure code - country visit

28/08/2018 - 29/08/2018
By letter dated 29 June 2018, Mr Beketayev, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft administrative procedure code.

The rapporteurs of the Commission visited Astana on 28 – 29 August 2018 to exchange views with the authorities.

Kazakhstan - Day of the Constitution - Meeting of the CCCOCND

28/08/2018 - 29/08/2018
Astana – The Venice Commission participated in the International Conference «A Constitution: the Embodiment of the Values of the Rule of Law, Civil Society and the modern State», dedicated to the Day of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the meeting of the Conference of Constitutional Control Organs of the Countries of New Democracy (CCCOCND).

Request for opinion – Luxembourg - draft new constitution

21/08/2018
By letter dated 12 July 2018, Mr Mars di Bartolomeo, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft of the new Constitution of Luxembourg.

Obituary – Mr Erik Lukács, former Substitute Member of the Venice Commission in respect of the Netherlands

21/08/2018
Scheveningen - The Venice Commission is saddened by the death of its former Dutch Substitute Member Mr Erik Lukács passed away on 8 August 2018 at the age of 83 years. Mr. Lukács was Substitute member in respect of the Netherlands from 1999 until 2007.

He was a recognised legal expert and a valuable member of the Venice Commission.

At its next plenary session, the Venice Commission will hold a minute of silence in his memory.

Request for opinion – Uzbekistan – draft electoral code

02/08/2018
By the letter dated 5 July 2018, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov requested a joint opinion of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission on the draft electoral code of Uzbekistan.

The draft opinion will be on the agenda of the October 2018 plenary session of the Venice Commission.

Request for opinion - Republic of Moldova - Law on preventing and combatting terroristm

02/08/2018
Ms Victoria Iftodi, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the Law on preventing and combatting terrorism (Law no. 120).

Request for opinion – Albania

27/07/2018
The Speaker of the Parliament of Albania Mr Gramoz RUÇI requested the Venice Commission’s opinion on the draft law “on the Legislative Initiative of Citizens in the Republic of Albania”.

Ukraine - Testing of the training course for judges "Election Dispute Resolution"

19/07/2018 - 20/07/2018
Odessa - the Venice Commission’s branch of the Council of Europe's Office in Ukraine, together with the National School of Judges of Ukraine, launched the training course "Election Dispute Resolution".

The course includs such topics as:
• International standards and principles of democratic election,
• Overview of national election law. Classification of electoral disputes during the election process,
• Peculiarities of conduct on election rights and referendum under the rules of the CAJU, and
• ECtHR practice in electoral disputes.

The judges of adm... read more

10th anniversary of the OSCE Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations

15/07/2018
Udine, 15 July 2018 - The Deputy Secretary of the Commission participated in the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the launch of the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State Relations.

The Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations were adopted by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in 2008 building on the Venice Commission’s 2001 Report on Preferential treatment of National Minorities by the Kin-State.
(photo: OSCE/Giancarlo Puccini)

Romania - Preliminary Opinion on draft amendments to judicial laws

13/07/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – Today the Venice Commission has released its preliminary opinion on draft amendments to three Romanian laws concerning the judiciary, which had been submitted to its assessment by the President of Romania and the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council or Europe.

In accordance with the procedure for preliminary opinions in urgent cases, the Commission authorised the rapporteurs to issue the opinion and send it to the Romanian authorities, after consultation of the Bureau. The Commission is expected to endorse the Opinion wi... read more

Ukraine - 2nd round of regional meetings on the draft Electoral Code

13/07/2018 - 27/07/2018
Following the 1st round of successful public discussions in Vinnitsa and Chernihiv (cf. news of 15-16 June 2018), several regional meetings on the draft Electoral Code of Ukraine were held in the course of the month of July 2018.

These activities took place in the following locations: in Rivno - on 13 July, in Chernivcy – on 16 July, in Khmelnitskyi – on 17 July, in Odessa - on 19 July, Mikolaiv – on 24 July, in Kherson - on 25 July, in Zaporijia – on 26 July and Kropyvnytskyi - on 27 July 2018.

The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, deputies and representatives... read more

Andorra - Constitutional Justice

12/07/2018 - 13/07/2018
Andorra – The Venice Commission participated in the conference on « The Constitutional Courts : a warranty of the democratic quality of societies ? » at the occasion of the the 25th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Andorra.

“Women in politics: how to progress towards equality?” - Regional conference

05/07/2018
Rabat – The Venice Commission was invited to participate in the Regional Conference on “Women in politics: how to progress towards equality?” organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the invitation of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Ms Herdis Thorgeirsdóttir, 1st Vice-President of the Commission, contributed to the following subject: “Mechanisms to promote the representation of women”; Ms Lydie Err, Chair of the Venice Commission Sub-Commission on gender equality contributed to the session devoted to: “The role of political parties”.
read more

Romania - reform of Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code - Secretary General calls on Romania to wait for Venice Commission opinion

05/07/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The Secretary General of the Council of Europe made the following statement today:

“I call upon all parties concerned to wait for the Venice Commission’s Opinion, and to take it into account, before any further steps are taken to amend Romania’s Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.

This reform risks contradicting Romania’s international obligations, notably under the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, as identified by the recent ad hoc report of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). As a member State o... read more

Constitutional justice - Azerbaijan

05/07/2018
Baku – A delegation of the Venice Commission participated in the Conference on “The state governed by the rule of law and constitutional justice: values and priorities” at the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan.

Albania – workshop on media during the electoral campaign

04/07/2018
Tirana – An expert of the Venice Commission took part in a workshop on media during the electoral campaign of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform which was organised with the support of the OSCE/ODIHR.

This workshop brought together the Co-chairs and members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform, the Chair and members of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the relevant public administrations, CSOs and international organisations present in Tirana as well as national and international election experts.

The participation of the Ve... read more

Albania – workshop on electoral administration

03/07/2018
Tirana – An expert of the Venice Commission took part in a workshop on electoral administration of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform which was organised with the support of the OSCE/ODIHR.

This workshop brought together the Co-chairs and members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform, the Chair and members of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the international organisations present in Tirana, the civil society as well as national and international election experts. The expert made a presentation focusing especially on the question how to... read more

Request for opinion – Kazakhstan - draft administrative procedure code

29/06/2018
By letter dated 29 June 2018, Mr Beketayev, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft Administrative Procedure Code.

Exchange of views with the Minister of Legal Protection of the Netherlands

28/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The President and the Secretary of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO and Mr Thomas MARKERT, respectively, exchanged views with the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection Mr Sander DEKKER, on the recent activities of the Commission.

Albania – workshop on out-of-country voting

27/06/2018
Tirana – An expert of the Venice Commission took part in a workshop on out-of-country voting of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform which was organised with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania. This workshop brought together the Co-chairs and members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform, the Chair and members of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the relevant public administrations, CSOs and international organisations present in Tirana as well as national and international experts on out-of country voting. Participants discussed, on the basi... read more

Meeting with Armenian MPs

27/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - the President, the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission held an exchange of views with the members of Armenian Delegation to PACE Ms Naira ZOHRABYAN, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on European Integration of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, and Mr Mikayel MELKUMYAN, the Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly.

Meeting with representatives of the Hellenic Parliament

27/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The President of the Commission Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO and the Secretary of the Commission Mr Thomas MARKERT met with the Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr Kostas ATHANASIOU, and with the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Delegation of Greece to the PACE, Ms Ioanneta KAVVADIA.

Meeting with a Hungarian delegation

27/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO and Mr Thomas MARKERT, the President and the Secretary of the Commission respectively, held an exchange of views with Mr Laszlo BRENZOVICS, the President of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Alliance and Mr Zsolt NEMETH, the Head of the Hungarian PACE delegation.

Ukraine - Constitutional principles of the legislative branch of power - roundtable

27/06/2018
Kyiv - the Venice Commission in cooperation with the Ukrainian “Center for Policy and Legal Reforms” (CPLR), the USAID Program “RADA: Responsible Accountable Democratic Assembly”, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and with the support of the European Union organised the international roundtable on "Constitutional principles of the legislative branch of power in Ukraine". The event took place in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The discussion was focused on the challenges to implementation of the Ukrainian Parliament’s legislative... read more

115th Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

22/06/2018 - 23/06/2018
Venice, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista - The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has just adopted an opinion on the compatibility with international human rights standards of the Hungarian government’s new “Stop Soros” draft legislative package as far as it affects NGOs. The opinion, jointly prepared with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, assessed amendments to certain laws relating to measures to combat illegal immigration. The legal experts held an exchange of views with Mr Balázs Orbán, State Secretary of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office... read more

Joint Council on Constitutional Justice

26/06/2018 - 27/06/2018
Lausanne - The Federal Court of Switzerland hosted the 17th meeting of the Joint Council on Constitutional Justice of the Venice Commission. Some 60 representatives from 44 courts participated in this meeting.

On this occasion a mini-Conference entitled “Gender, equality and discrimination” was organised. Issues pertaining to gender equality and discrimination as regards trans-sexuality and (trans)gender, same sex marriages and #MeToo campaign dealt with by the national courts as well by the European Court of Human Rights were highlighted by the liaison officers from Austria, Belg... read more

Exchange of views with the Minister of Justice of Albania

26/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO and Mr Thomas MARKERT, the President and the Secretary of the Venice Commission respectively, exchanged views with Ms Etilda GJONAJ, the Minister of Justice of Albania, on recent cooperation between the Commission and Albania.

“Money in Politics” - Regional conference 2018

26/06/2018
Tbilisi – A regional international conference entitled “Money in Politics” took place in Georgia. An expert spoke on behalf of the Venice Commission at the Session I: “Regulating money and politics, a regional overview”.

The event was organised by the State Audit Office of Georgia, the Council of Europe, IFES, International IDEA, the OSCE/ODIHR, Transparency International TI-Georgia, and by the Eastern European Centre of Multiparty Democracy.

Hungary: “Stop Soros” provision on illegal migration should be repealed

26/06/2018
Venice - An opinion adopted on Friday 22.06.2018 by the Venice Commission criticises a key provision on illegal migration of the so-called “Stop Soros” legislation that the Hungarian Parliament adopted this week.

The new provision – Article 353A of the Criminal Code – introduces the offence of “facilitating irregular migration”. EU directives from 2002 define and strengthen the penal framework to prevent facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence. The Commission acknowledges that many European countries criminalise assistance to entry, stay or transit of irregular mi... read more

The President of the Commission meets the Prime Minister of Croatia

26/06/2018
Strasbourg, Conseil de l’Europe – The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO met with the Prime Minister of Croatia Mr Andrej PLENKOVIć, who participated in the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Croatia holds the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe since mid-May 2018.

Request for an opinion - Tunisia

25/06/2018
By the letter dated 18 June 2018 the Minister of Relations with the Constitutional Instances, Civil Society and Human Rights of Tunisia requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft organic law on the organisation of political parties and their financing.

Turkey - Early presidential and parliamentary elections - Legal assistance to the PACE observation mission

23/06/2018 - 24/06/2018
Ankara - A delegation of the Venice Commission accompanied the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) election observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the early presidential election and parliamentary elections of 24 June 2018.

The 35-member PACE delegation observed the opening, voting and counting processes of the presidential elections.

Hungary - "Stop Soros" draft legislative package - meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs

18/06/2018
Strasbourg – President Gianni Buquicchio met with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto to discuss the implementation of the Venice Commission’s opinion on the amendments to the Ukrainian Law on Secondary Education as well as the upcoming opinion on the new “stop Soros” legislative provisions.

In relation to the latter, President Buquicchio called on the Hungarian Parliament not to proceed with the adoption of the law prior to the publication of the Commission’s opinion this coming Friday 22 June 2018, or at least to take into account the Commission’s recommendations as they ... read more

Ukraine - draft Election Code – 1st regional public discussions

15/06/2018 - 16/06/2018
Vinnytsia and Chernihiv - The first regional public discussions on the draft Election Code of Ukraine took place on 15 and 16 June 2018.

These regional events aimed at discussing with the interested parties in the regions the main issues concerning the draft Election Code, as well as developing and providing recommendations in preparation of the draft Code for the second reading in Verkhovna Rada.

The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, deputies and representatives of local self-government bodies, members of territorial, district and polling station election commi... read more

The VOTA database - Unique collection of legal texts on elections

14/06/2018
Strasbourg/ Mexico City – The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Mexican Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary announce the complete update of their VOTA database of electoral legislation and the Venice Commission reports and opinions on elections and political parties – a unique collection of its kind.

The database was conceived by the Venice Commission in 2003 and put on line in 2004. Since 2012, the Venice Commission manages VOTA in cooperation with the Mexican Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary, an indispensible partner in this unique endeavor.<... read more

Request for opinion – PACE / Turkey – Electoral legislation

13/06/2018
By letter dated 4 May 2018 the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by member States of the Council of Europe requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the amendments to the electoral legislation and related “harmonisation laws” adopted in March and April 2018 in Turkey.

The Venice Commission will prepare an opinion after the parliamentary elections in Turkey planned on 24 June 2018.

Conference of European Constitutional Courts

13/06/2018 - 14/06/2018
Prague – The Venice Commission participated in the Preparatory meeting of the Circle of Presidents for the XVIIIth Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

  CECC

Romania – forthcoming opinion – visit to the country

11/06/2018 - 12/06/2018
Bucharest - A delegation of the Venice Commission visited Romania to have a series of exchange of views concerning three draft laws revising the Romanian laws on judicial organisation, on the Superior Council of Magistracy and on the Statute of judges and prosecutors.

The delegation had meetings with the President of Romania, the Ministry of Justice, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Constitutional Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anticorruption Directorate, the Superior Council of Magistracy, parliament representatives including the Special Parli... read more

Adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the Law on the High Anti-corruption Court - Statement by the President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio

07/06/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - "It is with great satisfaction - I would even say with great joy - that I learnt of today’s decision by the Verkhovna Rada to adopt the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court. According to the reports the law as adopted is in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission.

I would like to congratulate the members of the Verkhovna Rada on today’s vote and thank all those who contributed to the adoption of the law. This is an important step forward for Ukraine and for Europe, most of all for the citizens of Ukraine who have suffered for too long... read more

Request for opinion - “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” – two laws on the judiciary

06/06/2018
On 22 May 2018 the Ministry of Justice of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” requested an opinion on two laws on the judiciary: the law on the amendments to the Law on Courts and the law on the amendments to the Law on the Judicial Council. The draft opinion will be on the agenda of the October 2018 plenary session of the Commission.

The preparation of this opinion will be carried out in the framework of "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey", a Joint Programme funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Albania – workshop on the new voting technologies

06/06/2018
Tirana – An expert of the Venice Commission participated in a workshop of the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform on new voting technologies which was organised with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania.

This workshop brought together the Co-chairs and members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform, the Chair and members of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the CSOs and international organisations present in Tirana as well as national and international experts on new voting technologies. Participants discussed, on the basis of the repor... read more

Bosnia and Herzegovina - electoral issues - Chamber of Peoples of the Federation

04/06/2018 - 05/06/2018
Sarajevo - The Venice Commission participated in a second series of meetings with the actors of the electoral process, in order to provide expert assistance in the consultations on the necessary changes to the electoral legislation concerning the election of the Chamber of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This visit was organised as part of the "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey", a joint programme funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Request for opinion – Montenegro - Composition of the Judicial Council

04/06/2018
By a letter of 4 June 2018, the authorities of Montenegro have requested the Commission’s opinion on draft amendments to the Law on the Court and the Judicial Council relating to the appointment of the Council’s lay members.

The opinion is scheduled to be adopted by the Venice Commission at its next Plenary Session in June 2018.

Ukraine - Judicial reforms

01/06/2018
Kyiv – The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio participated in the conference entitled “Judicial reforms in Ukraine: achievements and further steps”.

This conference was organised in the framework of the action plan entitled “Supporting Ukraine in execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”.

Request for Opinion – PACE - Hungary

31/05/2018
By a letter dated 31 May 2018, the Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly confirmed the mandate of the Venice Commission to prepare an Opinion on the draft legislative package “Stop Soros” (Bill No. T/333 amending certain laws relating to measures to combat illegal immigration) to the extent that it affects the activities of NGOs in Europe. The draft opinion will be prepared jointly with the OSCE/ODIHR and will be on the agenda of the June 2018 plenary session of the Commission.

Democratic institutions - Ombudsman

30/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
Skopje - The Venice Commission participated in the 10th anniversary of the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen and to the 20th anniversary of the Ombudsman of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

On this occasion a conference on “Ombudsman as a protector of the social, cultural and environmental rights” was organised by the Ombudsman of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

The participation of several Ombudsmen was covered by the programme “Ensuring Sustainable Democratic and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean” funded by the European Union and ... read more

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe - Presentation of the 2017 annual report of activities of the Commission

30/05/2018
Council of Europe, Strasbourg - The President of the Venice Commission, Mr Gianni Buquicchio, presented the annual report of activities of the Commission in 2017. The presentation was followed by an exchange of views with the Ambassadors of the member States of the Council of Europe.

1st Research Conference of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC)

29/05/2018 - 01/06/2018
Seoul – A representative of the Venice Commission’s Secretariat participated in the 1st Research Conference of the AACC SRD on “Jurisdictions and Organisation of AACC members.” The event was organised by the Secretariat for Research and Development (SRD) of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions.

Kyrgyz Republic - electoral issues

26/05/2018 - 26/05/2018
Bishkek – A republic-wide conference of journalists of the Kyrgyz Republic was organised in Bishkek on 26 May 2018 in partnership with the Media Development Centre. The conference targeted all the regions of the Kyrgyz Republic and focused on such topics as freedom of expression, media monitoring practices during elections, media regulation, etc.

The conference was organised within the framework of the project “Support to Strengthening Democracy through Electoral Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic” implemented by the Venice Commission and funded by the European Union.

Hungary – country visit

24/05/2018 - 25/05/2018
Budapest - A delegation of the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR visited Hungary to exchange views with the Hungarian authorities and civil society organisations concerning "Stop Soros" draft legislative package (Bill T/1976 on the Licencing of Organisations Supporting Migration, Bill T/19775 on the Immigration Financing Duty and Bill T/19774 on the Immigration Restraint Order).

Constitutional Justice - Latvia

24/05/2018 - 25/05/2018
Riga - The President of the Venice Commisision participated in the international conference on "The Role of the Constitutional Courts in the Globalized World of the 21st Century" organised by the Constitutional Court of Latvia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - electoral matters

22/05/2018 - 24/05/2018
Sarajevo - As agreed by the political parties of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the context of the EU/US facilitation efforts on electoral reform, and following a formal request made by the EU, the Venice Commission attended a series of meetings with the relevant electoral stakeholders in order to provide expert assistance in the process of on-going discussions on necessary changes to electoral legislation, in particular concerning the election of the House of Peoples of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This visit took place in the framework of "Horizontal Fa... read more

Constitutional and Legal Principles on Ombudsman Institutions - Meeting of the Working Group

20/05/2018
Venice - This was the 4th meeting of the Working Group following the decision taken at 111th Plenary session of the Venice Commission to draft a List of Constitutional and Legal Principles on Ombudsman Institutions, the so-called “Venice Principles".

The meeting aimed at analysing the written comments to the first draft of the Venice Principles sent to the Commission's Secretariat by international organisations and ombudsman associations.

3rd Congress of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the countries of the Baltic and Black Sea regions (BBCJ)

16/05/2018 - 17/05/2018
Tbilisi - the Venice Commission and the Constitutional Court of Georgia organised the 3d Congress of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Régions (BBCJ). The 1st Vice President Ms Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir represented the Commission.

This activity falls in the framework of the Partnership for Good Governance (PGG) for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice (CIJC)

16/05/2018 - 18/05/2018
Panama - The President of the Venice Commission participated in the XIIth Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice.

  CIJC

Constitutional justice – International conference

15/05/2018
St-Petersburg - the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation organised the International Conference entitled “Constitution in the global change epoch and the goals of constitutional review”, which commenced the work of the VIIIth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. Secretary of the Venice Commission Mr Thomas Markert, ECtHR Vice-President Ms A. Nussberger, Director General of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law Mr Christos Giakoumopoulos represented the Council of Europe at the event.

Albania – electoral assistance – visit of the experts

15/05/2018
Tirana – A delegation of the Venice Commission visited Albania with a view to discussing the upcoming electoral reform with the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee on electoral reform, the Central Election Commission and the international organisations present in Tirana.

This visit took place in the framework of "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey", a Joint Programme funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

Kosovo – forthcoming opinion – visit of the rapporteurs

14/05/2018 - 15/05/2018
Pristina - A delegation of the Venice Commission visited Kosovo to exchange views with the Kosovo authorities, representatives of the political parties, the civil society and the international organisations present in Kosovo. The topic of the discussions was the draft law on amending and supplementing the Law on Financing of Political Entities which is the subject of the Commission’s forthcoming draft opinion, to be adopted by the June 2018 plenary session.

This visit took place in the framework of "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey", a Joint Programme funded b... read more

Separation of powers in Europe – international conference

14/05/2018 - 15/05/2018
Oslo - A large delegation of current and former members of the Venice Commission participated in the Conference on "Rewriting the Separation of powers in the European States" which was organised by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights of the Oslo University.

The conference was held on the occasion of the retirement of Jan Helgesen, professor and Member of the Venice Commission in respect of Norway.

Jordan - South Programme III - Bilateral Steering Committee Meeting

04/05/2018
Amman – The Venice Commission participated in the First Bilateral Steering Committee Meeting with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan “Ensuring Sustainable Democratic Governance and Human rights in the Southern Mediterranean”, South Programme III (2018-2020).

Democratic institutions - Ombudsman

03/05/2018 - 04/05/2018
Bucharest - The Venice Commission participated in a seminar organised by the Association of Ombudsmen and Mediators of the French speaking world (AOMF) entitled “The judge and the institutional mediator”.

The seminar was organised by the Advocate of the People of Romania. The Commission presented the draft “Principles on the protection and promotion of the Ombudsman institution” (“The Venice Principles”).

Montenegro - Judicial Council

03/05/2018 - 04/05/2018
Podgorica - A delegation of the Venice Commission held meetings and exchanges of views with representatives of the parliamentary majority and opposition, the Judicial Council and the Constitutional Court of Montenegro on the issue of the appointment of lay members on the new Judicial Council after the expiry of the mandate of the current one on 2 July 2018.

2nd Scientific Electoral Experts Debates - Equal suffrage - International Conference on free elections, Parliaments and nation building

03/05/2018 - 06/05/2018
Sinaia, Romania - the Second Scientific Electoral Experts Debates co-organised by the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania (PEA) and the Venice Commission, took place on 3-4 May 2018 in Sinaia. The theme of this event was “Equal Suffrage”.

This event was followed by the International Conference on free elections, Parliaments and nation building, organised by the PEA on 5-6 May 2018.

On this occasion, the “Electoral Expert Review”, published by the Permanent Electoral Authority (PEA), invited stakeholders and those interested to contribute in publishing scientific ar... read more

EU - Event on Democratic Participation and Electoral Matters

26/04/2018 - 26/04/2018
Brussels - The Venice Commission took part in the "Event on Democratic Participation and Electoral Matters", which involved the electoral management bodies of the member countries of the European Union. A representative of the Commission intervened in the 5th thematic session dedicated to "Practices in the identification, mitigation and management of risks of cyber-attacks and disinformation in the electoral processes".

Request for opinion - Romania/PACE - judiciary

26/04/2018
By letter dated 3 May 2018, the President of Romania Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the draft laws revising the Law on the Status of judges and prosecutors, the Law on the Superior Council of Magistracy and the Law on judicial organisation of Romania.

The Monitoring Committee of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also decided, on 26 April 2017, to ask for an opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft amendments to the judiciary laws of Romania.

Turkey – Constitutional Justice

25/04/2018 - 26/04/2018
Ankara – The President of the Venice Commission participated in the International Conference on “The role of Constitutional Courts in the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms” at the occasion of the 56th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey.

Improving the relations between the administration and the citizens – 7th UniDem Med Seminar

23/04/2018 - 26/04/2018
Rabat, Morocco - the Venice Commission in cooperation with the Ministry of the Reform of the Administration and the Civil Service of the Kingdom of Morocco, organised the 7th UniDem Med Regional Seminar, which took place in Rabat, Morocco, from 23 to 26 of April 2018. The seminar was entitled "Improving the relations between the administration and the citizens : a democratic imperative" and brought together senior public officials and experts from Europe and the Southern Mediterranean - Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia.

Debates highlighted exi... read more

Constitutional justice - Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils

23/04/2018
Cairo - The President of the Venice Commission participated in the Symposium of the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils on “Latest developments in Arab world: experiences of the Arab constitutional judiciary in the field of the right to Equality, religious and cultural freedom”.

Ukraine - International roundtable on constitutional reform

20/04/2018
Kyiv - The Secretary of the Venice Commission Mr Thomas Markert participated in the International Roundtable entitled “Constitutional reform: recommendations for Ukraine”.

The event was organised by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform (CPRL) with the support of the European Union (EU) in conjunction with USAID RADA Program: Responsible Accountable Democratic Assembly. The Venice Commission also contributed to the organisation of the Roundtable.

Electoral issues - 15th Conference of the Electoral Management Bodies

19/04/2018 - 20/04/2018
Oslo - The Venice Commission co-organised the 15th Conference of Electoral Management Bodies in co-operation with the Section for Elections of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation of Norway. The Conference was dedicated to “Security in Elections”. All details are available on the Conference's dedicated webpage (link below).

25th anniversary of the Kyrgyz Constitution

19/04/2018 - 20/04/2018
Bishkek - The Venice Commission participated in the International Conference on « Supremacy of the Constitution and its direct force: issues of ensuring the legal protection of the Constitution ». The event was organised by the Constitutional Chamber of Kyrgyzstan at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Kyrgyz Constitution.

The "Venice Principles" - the Protection and Promotion of the Ombudsman Institution

19/04/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The process of consultation and exchanges on the so-called "Venice Principles" with Ombudsman Institutions from all over the world as well as with the international stakeholders started today.

In June 2017, the Commission decided to codify, on the basis of its previous work, a set of constitutional and legal principles ("Venice Principles") specifically devoted to the Ombudsman institution. A working group composed of four members of the Commission and one expert has met several times in order to draft a text offering guidelines which should prevail... read more

Request for amicus curiae brief– Georgia

19/04/2018
The President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Mr Zaza Tavadze, requested an amicus curiae brief from the Venice Commission on the effects of constitutional court decisions on final judgments1 in civil and administrative cases.

Request for opinion – Kosovo

17/04/2018
By letter dated 16 April 2018 the Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr Ramush Haradinaj requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the draft law on amending and supplementing the Law on Financing of Political Entities. The draft opinion is on the agenda of the June 2018 plenary session of the Commission.

Norway - Meeting with the Election Act Commission

17/04/2018
Oslo – A delegation of the Venice Commission met with representatives of the Election Act Commission. Established by Royal decree, this Commission has as a task to make proposals to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) to enact a new electoral legislation.

European Parliament – Exchange of views

16/04/2018
Strasbourg – The President, the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General of the Venice Commission held an exchange of views on topics of common interest with AFCO, the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

Montenegro - presidential elections - Legal assistance to the PACE observation mission

14/04/2018 - 16/04/2018
Podgorica - A delegation of the Venice Commission accompanied the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) election observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the presidential elections of 15 April 2018 in Montenegro. The PACE delegation together with observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) observed the opening, voting and counting processes of the presidential elections.

Request for opinion – Republic of Serbia

13/04/2018
Minister of Justice of Serbia Ms Nela Kuburović requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the draft constitutional amendments in the field of the judiciary.

Slovakia - Constitutional Justice

11/04/2018
Košice - The Constitutional Court of Slovakia organised an international conference on "Constitutional Justice - Challenges and Perspectives" at the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Azerbaijan - presidential elections - Legal assistance to the PACE observation mission

10/04/2018 - 12/04/2018
Baku - A delegation of the Venice Commission accompanied the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) election observation delegation to advise on the legal framework of the anticipated presidential elections of 11 April 2018 in Azerbaijan. The PACE delegation together with observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) observed the opening, voting and counting processes of the presidential elections.

Preventing and fighting against the misuse of administrative resources during élections - Regional Conference

10/04/2018 - 11/04/2018
Tirana – The Venice Commission and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe organised a regional conference on “The misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes: a major challenge for democratic elections”.

Request for opinion - Malta

09/04/2018
On 8 March 2018 Ms Helena Dalli, the Minister for European Affairs and Equality of Malta requested the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on the draft equality act and on the draft act on Human Rights and Equality Commission. A visit of the rapporteurs of the Venice Commission to Malta is planned for 2-4 May 2018.

Request for Opinion - PACE - Hungary

09/04/2018
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 22 March 2018 requested an opinion of the Venice Commission on the compatibility of the “Stop Soros” draft legislative package with international human rights standards. The draft legislative package includes Bill T/1976 on the licencing of organisations supporting migration, Bill T/19775 on the immigration financing duty and Bill T/19774 on the immigration restraint order.

The Opinion which will be prepared in cooperation with the OSCE/ODIHR will be submitted to the Commissio... read more

Launch of the UN Global Judicial Integrity Network

09/04/2018 - 10/04/2018
Vienna – The Austrian Member of the Venice Commission Mr Christopher Grabenwarter and the Deputy Secretary of the Commission Ms Simona Granata-Menghini participated in the Launch of the UN Global Judicial Integrity Network.

The Venice Commission, together with the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) co-organised the Council of Europe panel entitled “Transparency and how to demystify the work of courts”.

Assistance to the to the Kyrgyz Republic in the electoral field - Study visit on data protection

05/04/2018 - 06/04/2018
Valletta, Malta - Representatives of the State Registration Service (SRS), State Security Council as well as of the civil society of the Kyrgyz Republic participated in a study visit organised in Malta by the Venice Commission and the Maltese authorities.

The participants of the study visit got an insight into the Maltese experience in developing the data protection system; they visited the Electoral office of Malta. They were also informed about the setting up and functioning of the Digital Malta Strategy. They also had an opportunity to visit the Data Centre and to receive detai... read more

Ukraine - Round table on the reform of the electoral legislation

04/04/2018 - 05/04/2018
Kiev – In the framework of the “Electoral systems week” and in co-operation with IFES, USAID and other international partners the Venice Commission co-organised a round table on the electoral reforms process in Ukraine. This event brought together representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, MPs, NGOs, national and international experts who discussed the current initiatives aimed at reforming the electoral legislation in Ukraine.

Assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic in the electoral field - Seminar on cybersecurity

03/04/2018
Council of Europe, Strasbourg - In the framework of the project “Support to Strengthening Democracy through Electoral Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic” a working seminar on cybersecurity was held for representatives from the Kyrgyz Republic on 3 April 2018.

Representatives of the State Registration Service (SRS), State Security Council as well as the Civil Society of the Kyrgyz Republic learnt the founding principles of the Budapest Convention, as well as implications of cybersecurity during the electoral processes.

The project “Support to Strengthening Democracy through E... read more

34th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

28/03/2018
Strasbourg – Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission Ms Simona Granata-Menghini participated in the debate on “Regional referendum, a tool for democracy: challenges and risks” at the Chamber of Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. She presented the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Referendums.

Italy makes voluntary contribution

20/03/2018
The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs has informed the Venice Commission of the Italian government’s decision to make a voluntary contribution of 30,000 euros to the Commission’s budget, in addition to its statutory one.

Statutory contribution of the Regione Veneto to the Venice Commission’s budget

17/03/2018
The Italian Regione Veneto, pursuant to its statutory commitment, has renewed in 2018 its financial support to the Venice Commission.

World Conference on Constitutional Justice - the Bureau meeting

17/03/2018
Venice - At its 13th meeting, the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice examined, inter alia, the financial report prepared by the Secretariat and discussed the topic for the 5th Congress of the World Conference (hosted by the Constitutional Council of Algeria in 2020), the organisation of a training session on CODICES and the Venice Forum for liaison officers in February 2019, the support for Member Courts that come under undue pressure and the activities of the regional and linguistic groups represented in the Bureau.

114th Plenary session of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe

16/03/2018 - 17/03/2018
At its 114th plenary session which took place on 16-17 March 2018 in Venice (Italy), the Commission:

• Paid tribute to late Mr Boguslaw Banaszak, member in respect of Poland;

• Was informed of the difficult financial situation following the reduction of the Commission’s budget, thanked Italy for its recent voluntary contribution in addition to its statutory one, and encouraged all member states to also consider making additional contributions to the Commission’s budget;

• Adopted the Opinions on:
- the draft law of Armenia on making amendments to the Law ... read more

Constitutional and Legal Principles on Ombudsman Institutions - Meeting of the Working Group

13/03/2018
Venice - This was the 3rd meeting of the Working Group following the decision taken at 111th Plenary session of the Venice Commission to draft a List of Constitutional and Legal Principles on Ombudsman Institutions, the so-called " Venice Principles".

Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States - Cooperation Agreement with the Venice Commission

06/03/2018
St-Petersburg/Strasbourg - the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, have signed a cooperation agreement. The common concern for the respect of pluralistic democracy, rule of law and human rights and the need to promote dialogue are the basis for the agreement.

Freedom of peaceful assembly - revision of the Joint Guidelines

22/02/2018 - 23/02/2018
Warsaw - The Venice Commission participated in a workshop organised by the OSCE / ODIHR Panel as part of the revision of the Joint Guidelines on the freedom of peaceful assembly.

Armenia – forthcoming opinion – country visit

06/02/2018 - 07/02/2018
Yerevan - A delegation of the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR visited Armenia to exchange views with the Armenian authorities and representatives of the civil society in the framework of the preparation of the joint OSCE/ODIHR opinion on the draft law on freedom of religion.

The draft opinion was on the agenda of the March 2018 plenary session.

Romania – forthcoming opinion – country visit

05/02/2018 - 06/02/2018
Bucharest - A delegation of the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR visited Romania to exchange views with the Romanian authorities and the representatives of the civil society in the framework of the preparation of the joint OSCE/ODIHR opinion on the draft law on NGOs (amending the Government Ordinance 26/2000 on associations and foundations).

The draft opinion, requested by the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Fundamental Rights, was on the agenda of the March 2018 plenary session.

Republic of Moldova – forthcoming opinion – country visit

05/02/2018 - 06/02/2018
Chisinau – A delegation of the Venice Commission visited the Republic of Moldova and met with the Ministry of Justice, the Superior Council of Magistracy, Parliament (majority and opposition), the Judge’s Association and the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as with representatives of the international organisations and civil society. This visit was made in preparation of the opinion on the Law on amending and supplementing the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova requested by the Ministry of Justice.

The adoption of the draft opinion was on the agenda of the March 2018 plenary... read more

UniDem Campus for the Southern Mediterranean: 3rd National Coordinators Meeting

05/02/2018
Paris - The third meeting of the focal points of the seven partners participating in the UniDem Seminars for the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Palestine* and Tunisia) was held 5th February 2018 in the Council of Europe Office in Paris. The participants discussed the challenges and the perspectives as regards the modernisation of the public administration, took stock of achievements of 2017 UniDem Med seminars and determine the topics, dates and venues of upcoming 2018 UniDem Med seminars.

The UniDem seminars were established for the Souther... read more

Ukraine – forthcoming opinion – country visit

30/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
Kyiv – a delegation of the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR exchanged views with the Ukrainian authorities and representatives of the civil society in the framework of the preparation of the joint OSCE/ODIHR opinion on financial reporting requirements for NGOs.

The draft opinion was on the agenda of the March 2018 plenary session.

"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" – forthcoming opinion – visit to the country

29/01/2018 - 30/01/2018
Skopje – a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Skopje in the framework of the preparation of an opinion on the draft law on prevention and protection against discrimination. The delegation exchanged views with representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Justice, the civil society, the international organisations, the Office of Ombudsman as well as Members of the National Assembly and of the Commission for protection against discrimination.

The draft opinion was on the agenda of the March 2018 plenary session of the Venice Commission.

Republic of Moldova – forthcoming opinion – visit to the country

29/01/2018
Chisinau - A delegation of the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR visited the Republic of Moldova in view of the preparation of a joint opinion on the revised electoral legislation concerning the system for the election of Parliament. The delegation met representatives of political parties and the civil society, as well as the Central Electoral Commission and the Commission for the boundary delimitation.

PACE session – standards on Ombudsman institutions in Europe

25/01/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - Mr Jan Helgesen, President of the Scientific Council of the Venice Commission, exchanged views with the PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on “ Ombudsman Institutions in Europe – the need for a set of common standards” and informed the MPs on the work of the Venice Commission in this respect.

PACE session - President BUQUICCHIO meets head of the Moldovan PACE delegation Mr LUPU

25/01/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni BUQUICCHIO met the head of the Moldovan PACE delegation Mr Marian LUPU to exchange views on current situation in Moldova and on the cooperation between the Venice Commission and the Republic of Moldova.

Ukraine – meeting with the Constitutional Court

25/01/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - Mr Thomas Markert, the Director and Secretary of the Venice Commission, met a delegation of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in order to discuss co-operation between the Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission.

PACE session - fair referendums in member States

24/01/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio addressed the PACE’s Committee on Political affairs and Democracy on the following topic “A commitment to introduce rules to ensure fair referendums in Council of Europe member States.”

PACE session - President BUQUICCHIO meets Armenian President Serzh SARGSYAN

24/01/2018
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The President of the Venice Commission Mr Gianni Buquicchio met with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who was visiting the Council of Europe at the occasion of his address to the PACE during the January session.

Study visit of ELSA at the Council of Europe

24/01/2018
Strasbourg - The Venice Commission co-organised a study visit to the Council of Europe of a group from the European Law Students' Association (ELSA) at the occasion of the Winter Session of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.

Members of the Secretariat of the Venice Commission introduced the work of the Commission and its role in assisting the member States.

Albania - Electoral matters - Voting abroad

23/01/2018
Tirana – A representative of the Venice Commission took part in a conference on “Voting of Albanian citizens abroad”, organised under the auspices of the Assembly of Albania, by the Minister of State for Diaspora with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania.

Request for opinion – PACE – Romania

15/01/2018
Paris – the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 12 December 2017 decided to request the Venice Commission’s opinion on compatibility of the Romanian draft legislation on NGOs (draft law 140/2017 amending Decree 26/2000 on Associations and Foundations) with international standards on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Second Scientific Electoral Experts Debates: „Equal Suffrage” - Call for papers - Electoral Expert Review - Deadline for submitting proposals 25th of March 2018.

12/01/2018
Sinaia, Romania - The Electoral Expert Review, published by the Permanent Electoral Authority (PEA), invited stakeholders and those interested to contribute in publishing scientific articles that had not been or were not published in other journals, reviews or scientific symposium volumes, related to the theme of the Second Scientific Electoral Experts Debates: “Equal Suffrage”, co-organised by the PEA and the Venice Commission, which took place on 3-4 May 2018 in Sinaia.

Deadline for submitting the proposal for articles in English, French or Romanian was 25 March 2018.

Serbia - Assistance to the Ministry of Justice for the constitutional amendments in the field of the judiciary

10/01/2018 - 11/01/2018
Belgrade - A delegation of the Venice Commission met on 10 and 11 January with the Minister of Justice, the Republic Public Prosecutor, representatives of the Ministry of European Integration and the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society as well as the academic community with a view to discussing the upcoming constitutional changes. This was the second visit to the Republic of Serbia to provide recommendations to the Ministry of Justice with respect to drafting the relevant constitutional amendments in the field of the judiciary.

This activity took place in the framework of "H... read more

Requests for opinions - Republic of Moldova

10/01/2018
Mr Nicolae Eșanu, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, has requested two opinions of the Venice Commission: one on a draft law amending Article 42 of the Constitution, concerning the freedom of association, and another on the Draft Law on the modification and completion of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova concerning the organisation of the judiciary. The two opinions will be submitted for adoption at the 114th Plenary meeting of the Commission in March 2018.

Obituary – Mr Bogusław Banaszak, member of the Venice Commission in respect of Poland

09/01/2018
Warsaw - The Venice Commission is saddened by the sudden death of its Polish member, Professor Bogusław Banaszak.
He was a widely recognised expert in constitutional law and a valuable member of the Venice Commission.
At its next plenary session, the Venice Commission will hold a minute of silence in his memory.

Request for opinion – “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

08/01/2018
The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" requested the Venice Commission’s opinion on the draft law on prevention and protection against discrimination.
The draft opinion will be on the agenda of March 2018 session of the Commission.

Role of administrative courts in electoral disputes – international conference

08/01/2018 - 09/01/2018
Cairo – The Venice Commission participated in an international conference on the “Role of administrative courts in electoral disputes”, organised by the Arab Union of Administrative Justice.

Experts from Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mauritania, Sudan, Bahrain and France addressed the issue of electoral disputes before the administrative judges from the courts members of the Union.

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