On May 5, 2019, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the adoption of the Statute of the Council of Europe, in the light of:
- the publication of the report of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
- the news provided by the Advisory Council on Youth Affairs attached to the Committee of Ministers,
- the publication of the common statement of the Political Party Youth Organisations (PPYOs) and the European Youth Forum on the Council of Europe Youth Department possible budget cuts,
Timis County Youth Foundation (FITT), the owner of Timisoara Youth House – the only Romanian youth center certified (2016-2023) with the Council of Europe Quality Certificate for Youth Centers (and one of only 13 such centers in Europe), we send a letter to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania and the Permanent Representation of Romania to the Council of Europe, which can be read HERE.
Therefore, we requested that, in the event that the forecasts become reality, to resist the diminution of support for the functioning of the Youth Department, as well as to undertake all necessary and possible efforts, so that our country will become a determinant, effective and concrete contributor and factor to secure the continuous development of a common European cultural identity, by supporting the Council of Europe’s programmes for international youth activities aiming to promote youth active citizenship, youth mobility and the values of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism.
On May 17, 2019, the 129th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took place in Helsinki, which was preceded by an informal dinner on “Current challenges to the future of the Council of Europe”.
Yesterday, May 20, 2019 (even though it was drafted on May 14, 2019), we received a response from the Ministry of Foreign Affair, which, in addition to the points published in the press release on the Helsinki meeting, refers to the interest of our country in the budget and the functioning of the Council.
So, by answering to us, the ministry assures us that Romania sees in the Council of Europe a constant partner and that it supports its activity as a promoter of human rights and fundamental freedoms, democratic values and the rule of law and tells us that Romania has always paid its financial obligations for the Council’s operation.
What is very important, however, is that the ministry clarifies Romania’s position on the challenges faced by the Council of Europe and assures us the following:
- Romania supports the identification of solutions that contribute to the good functioning of the Council of Europe,
- The solutions identified must ensure the strengthening of democratic security in Europe,
- Romania supports the compliance by all member states of the Council with the obligations assumed at the time of accession, including the financial ones,
- Romania is closely following the Council’s budget issue.
It is true that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not made a particular reference to the Youth Department, but bearing in mind that it is part of the Directorate of Democratic Participation within the Directorate General of Democracy, we remain confident that:
- the good functioning of the Council of Europe also means ensuring the proper functioning of the Youth Department,
- enhancing democratic security in Europe also means strengthening the Directorate-General of Democracy and its Youth Department,
- the fact that Romania is closely following the Council’s budget issue and supports the identification of solutions also means that if it is necessary to increase the contribution of the member states (and, implicitly, of our country) to ensure the good functioning of the organization in Strasbourg, Romania will not resist such action.
After reading all the decisions of the Committee of Ministers (which you can access HERE), we are also looking forward to the meeting on Thursday, May 23, 2019, in which it will be reflected concretely, in financial terms, the Member States’ views on the Youth Department and, after all, their view on the importance of youth.