“Transparency and the rule of law as pre-conditions of equitable and sustainable development” is the central theme of a conference being held within the context of the 100th session of the Venice Commission. The Council of Europe’s consultative body is meeting at the Farnesina from 9 to 11 October, with the participation of Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Benedetto Della Vedova and Secretary-General, MicheleValensise.
Valensise points to great expectations of Tunisia
In his opening address, Valensise asserted that the Mediterranean “continues to play a central role for Italy, and that one country is cause for great expectations: Tunisia. “And not least in light of the political elections slated for the end of the month and the presidential ones for late November-early December. Precisely in view of the “laborious and painstaking evolution that the countries of the southern Mediterranean shores are undergoing”, Valensise pointed out the importance of the rule of law, democracy and human rights, which are three pilasters of the Council of Europe as well as universal values”. The concept that was reiterated by Under-Secretary Della Vedova, who spoke at the closing of the work sessions. “Rule of law and good governance”, he said, “are principals valid for all countries, not only those in a transitional phase”. The challenge, Valensise continued, “is, in any case, always the same: to promote those principals while remaining mindful of the given context”. Thanks to its efforts, the secretary-general concluded, “the Venice Commission has been able to plant the seeds of development and democracy”.
Transparency and sustainable development
Guest speakers included legal experts from various countries, including some from the Arab Spring nations. The Venice Commission is well known for its commitment to promoting institution-building processes in those countries, its consulting on the drafting of the new Constitution of Tunisia being a prime example. The conference was divided into two panels: one to discuss transparency and support for democratic processes as a condition for good governance; the second on sustainable development and the rule of law, focusing on the defence of human rights in social and economic spheres.
Founded in 1990
Since its founding in 1990, the Commission has been especially active in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, assisting in the drafting of constitutions and laws on constitutional courts, electoral codes, laws on minority groups and other administrative mechanisms. Most recently, the Commission has made its consultation available to non-member countries that officially request it. In such cases, the Commission complies with the rule of non-interference in the State’s ownership of the final decision-making process and constitutional design intentions. Its main role is to provide legal counsel, in the form of legal opinions, to member countries that officially request it. The legal opinions prepared by Commission experts are later discussed and adopted during the plenary session, which meets four times per year.