Council of Europe  Recommendation 951 (1982) on voting rights of nationals of member states.


Harry Shindler 





As a preamble the CoE states…..

·       Mindful that one of the major concerns of the Council of Europe is to preserve and strengthen democracy and civic rights in member states;

·       Emphasising the importance it attaches to the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the First Protocol thereto, particularly freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, as well as the obligation for member states to hold free elections at regular intervals ;

·       Believing that steps should, therefore, be taken to ensure that every national of a member state is able to exercise his political rights, at least in his country of origin, when he resides in another Council of Europe member state .....

Thereby The CoE states

In its Resolution 800 (1983) on the principles of democracy, the Assembly noted that the concept of democracy derived from a belief in the inalienable dignity and equal value of every individual human being and meant that citizens should be given every opportunity to influence, through voluntary participation, social, professional and political life in a spirit of solidarity.

In Recommendation 1410 (1999) on links between Europeans living abroad and their countries of origin, the Assembly noted that “several tens of millions” of Europeans were living outside their countries of origin. It continued:

The Assembly believes that it is in the interest of states to ensure that their nationals continue actively to exercise their nationality, so that it does not become merely passive or essentially a matter of feelings and emotions, and that those nationals can in fact play an important go-between role in host countries, working for better political, cultural, economic and social relations between their country of origin and the country where they live.”

It recommended that the Committee of Ministers:

prepare a recommendation to the member states with the intention of fostering voluntary participation of expatriates in political, social and cultural life in their country of origin, by instituting and harmonising arrangements for specific representation, such as the unrestricted right to vote or specific parliamentary and institutional representation through various consultative councils ...


The Council of Europe invites member states:

to take account of the phenomenon of expatriation, its benefits and challenges, in their emigration policies, notably with a view to introducing support measures in the cultural, educational, political and social spheres based on the criterion of nationality rather than territoriality;