A joint informal body of MEPs and Council of Europe parliamentarians has welcomed the prospect of talks resuming on EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Last week the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to pursue negotiations with the EU with a view to finalising the legal instruments setting out the modalities of accession. The high-level political negotiations stalled in the Autumn of 2011 after the completion of most of the technical work on accession.
The two co-chairs of the Joint Informal Body, Pietro Marcenaro and Carlo Casini, said it was “of the utmost importance” that these negotiations reach a speedy conclusion and that the momentum towards an agreement is not lost.
“EU accession to the ECHR is crucial with a view to securing a common space for human rights protection across the European continent,” they said. “It is thus essential that the modalities of such accession are completed at a political level as rapidly as possible, and that all outstanding questions are clarified.”
The two co-chairs recalled that agreement had already been reached on arrangements to ensure the European Parliament’s participation in the sittings of the Parliamentary Assembly when the latter elects judges to the European Court of Human Rights.
They added: “For its part, the Joint Informal Body will continue to follow the negotiations closely in order to take stock of matters and, as appropriate, prompt progress at the political level, offering as it does a useful platform for the two parliamentary institutions to share information and co-operate on issues of common concern.”
The Joint Informal Body, which brings together members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and members of the European Parliament, was holding its third meeting in Paris. It was created in 2011.