Open letter addressed to international public opinion, at the initiative of the civic NGOs in Poland.

We are writing to you from Poland. And from many other places in the world, where we live, study and work. We, the Poles, who do not agree with how current policy casts a pall over the Polish-Jewish relations developed over the years. We write to all of you who look at Poland today with disbelief, sadness or anger.

We write because we want you to know that regardless of how radical and inappropriate the positions of Polish authorities or certain groups are, these are not the positions and views of us all. We ask that you keep current politics in perspective, although we know how difficult this may be.

The Group of States against corruption (GRECO) has recently published three new reports :

8 MARCH 2018
GRECO publishes a report on Slovenia

6 MARCH 2018
GRECO publishes a report on Portugal

1 MARCH 2018
GRECO publishes a report on Greece

While encouraging the initiative of the meeting, the Pope has developed some ideas that we resume in the lines below.

- 1 Politics must be conceived as a high form of charity or, rather, as an invaluable service of dedication to the accomplishment of the common good of society. Politics is therefore not at the service of individual ambitions, factionalism and interests. We must not oppose service and power, but power must be subordinated to service so as not to degenerate.

- 2 The common good is the set of social conditions that enable both groups and each of their members to achieve perfection in a more total and easy way (Gaudium et Spes, § 26

The forum focused on democracy crisis and populism.

The breeding ground of populism.

- The marginalization of certain populations, victims of economic violence. The exclusion of his community, pushes people to lose all rationality and to join a new community, to radicalize.
- Corruption, which allows access to power, but discredits those who use it.
- Social networks that allow the expression of hatred and lies with irresponsible authors.
- The media that choose headlines based on what citizens want to hear,
- A dull, rational and irrational anxiety, in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 in the USA and those that followed, with a feeling of a loss of control.
- The Russians want to destroy the post-Cold War global system. There are factories of false information.

CoE : Venice Commission invites the President of Ukraine to submit a revised draft law on anti-corruption courts to Parliament, based on its recommendations.

In its opinion on the draft law on anti-corruption courts in Ukraine adopted today, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) said that many of the provisions of the draft law provide a good basis for the establishment of a high specialised anti-corruption court, but made several recommendations to reduce the risk that it could be considered unconstitutional. In order to dispel any doubts about the constitutionality of the legislative procedure, the Venice Commission invites the President of Ukraine to promptly submit his own draft law on anti-corruption courts – which should be based on the Venice Commission’s recommendations. The current draft law (Draft Law No. 6011) thus needs to be withdrawn.

In an opinion adopted today, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) assessed the extent to which Turkey’s Emergency Decree Laws – passed in the wake of the failed 2016 coup attempt – include measures that go beyond what is permitted by international standards and the Turkish constitution.

As stated in previous opinions regarding these laws, the Venice Commission again acknowledges the need for certain extraordinary steps taken by Turkish authorities to face a dangerous armed conspiracy.

However, as highlighted in previous opinions – the Turkish authorities have interpreted these extraordinary powers too extensively.

On 10 October 2017, the Conference of INGOs, in collaboration with the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), one of its members, is organising a debate entitled: "Return of the death penalty in Europe: genuine threat or populist fiction?", aimed at strengthening and better coordinating the fight against the threat of a return of the death penalty in Europe.

The Conference of INGOs remains convinced that the death penalty is not the solution and that the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) as well as its additional Protocols 6 and 13 should be defended in all circumstances.

Please register by 5 October 2017  using the online registration formParticipation is subject to the number of available places.

The Committee of Ministers today adopted guidelines aimed at promoting civil participation in political decision-making in the Council of Europe 47 member states.

The Committee of Ministers today adopted guidelines aimed at promoting civil participation in political decision-making in the Council of Europe 47 member states. At a time when democracy is challenged by diminishing trust of people towards politicians and elites in general, one of the prerequisites for guaranteeing democratic security is to ensure the participation of all individuals and societal groups in political processes and decision-making.

The new guidelines together with other existing texts such as Recommendation (2007)14 on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe and the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Processnow form a solid basis for governments and civil society to work together to strengthen democracy.

The Council of Europe and civil society already interact through the Conference of INGOs which promotes participatory democracy and provides input to the decisions taken at inter-governmental level.

The preparation of this unique standard-setting instrument was recommended by Secretary General Jagland in his 2015 report on the State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe.