Polityczny wymiar objęcia państw Europy Środkowej i Wschodniej standardami demokratycznymi Rady Europy
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The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is one of the most important international organizations. In its axiology it emphasises democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights. Its “pearl in the crown” is the European Convention on Human Rights. Until 1989 the Council of Europe was a “democratic club of Western European democratic countries.” Since political breakthrough in 1989 the Council has been open to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This changed the face of the “elite club”, carrying the risk of lowering standards. At the same time it also opened new ways for action for the Council of Europe, which highly determines contemporary sense of the organization. Central and Eastern European countries which were striving for the membership had to meet the threshold requirements, including a form of free elections and the willingness to sign and ratify the European Convention on Human Rights (in the phase of the accession procedure), and also to make substantial modifications to the political system after becoming the Council of Europe member (controlled under a monitoring procedure). They concerned the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities as well as the local government. The main constitutional solutions were consulted with the Venice Commission which acts within the structure of the Council of Europe and brings together the leading experts on constitutional issues. The Council of Europe also gave assistance to tchem in democratic know how. Sustainability of a monitoring procedure in respect to some countries (including Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) indicates that the completion of the Council of Europe standards requires not only political will, changes in political culture and legal societies, determination in the implementation of political reforms but also significant financial resources. One of the reasons of meeting the requirements was paving the way for these countries to membership in the European Union. Today the political dimension of opening the Council of Europe to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is associated with the prominence of the fact that the process of European integration is not to be restricted to the framework of the European Union and not to build a new “fortress” on the River Bug. Therefore, countries of that region, especially outside the EU have an interest in the Council of Europe prestige not to weaken, and that participation in it will bring hope in further deepening of European integration.
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