§ The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
Her Majesty's Government consider the Council of Europe as a key organisation in the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights throughout Europe. Its role is particularly valuable in the countries of the former Communist bloc, where much remains to be done in establishing the institutions capable of upholding the common European values which are the foundation of the Council of Europe. The Council must continue to co-ordinate closely with other organisations such as the EU and the OSCE which play a key role in securing the rights and prosperity of all European citizens.
§ Lord Judd
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What priority they accord to the work of the Council of Europe given their policy of "zero growth" in the Council's budget; and what is their rationale for continuing to support the principle of voluntary contributions to finance the implementation of initiatives agreed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. [HL43]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
Her Majesty's Government seek to apply "zero real growth"℄in some cases zero nominal growth—to the budget of all international organisations to which they belong. This is a necessary discipline which encourages these organisations to keep their working methods and priorities under constant and rigorous review, thus eliminating work which is no longer a priority for most60WA member states. Her Majesty's Government would naturally prefer initiatives agreed by the Committee of Ministers to be funded, wherever possible, within the existing budget by identifying savings and reprioritising commitments. Where unforseen but important activities have arisen, such as the monitoring of the Kosovo elections, Her Majesty's Government have made voluntary contributions.