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The Pan-European General Principles on Data Protection

  • CoE Conventions
  1. Council of Europe Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data
  • The purpose of this Convention is to protect every individual, whatever his or her nationality or residence, with regard to the processing of their personal data, thereby contributing to respect for his or her human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular the right to privacy.
  • ‘While security measures are aimed at preventing a number of risks, paragraph 2 contains a specific obligation in cases where a data breach has nevertheless occurred that may seriously interfere with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual. For instance, the disclosure of data covered by professional confidentiality, or which may result in financial, reputational, or physical harm or humiliation, could be deemed to constitute a “serious” interference.’ (Article 7 Data security, para 64)


  • Recommendations
  1. Recommendation No. R (91) 10 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the Communication to Third Parties of Personal Data Held by Public Bodies
  2. ECtHR judgment Bernh Larsen Holding AS and Others v. Norway (24117/08), March 14, 2013
  • The case concerned the complaint by three Norwegian companies about a decision of the tax authorities ordering tax auditors to be provided with a copy of all data on a computer server used jointly by the three companies.
  • The ECtHR agreed with the Norwegian courts’ argument that, for efficiency reasons, tax authorities’ possibilities to act should not be limited by the fact that a tax payer was using a “mixed archive”, even if that archive contained data belonging to other tax payers. Moreover, there were adequate safeguards against abuse.
  • No violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  1. ECtHR judgment Pruteanu v. Romania (30181/05), February 3, 2015
  • The applicant was a lawyer. The case concerned the interception of his telephone conversations and his inability to challenge the lawfulness of the measure and to request that the recordings be destroyed.
  • On 1 September 2004 the commercial company M. was barred from carrying out bank transactions. The police received several criminal complaints against the company for deceit. One of the company’s partners, C.I., instructed the applicant as his defence lawyer. The District Court authorised the prosecuting authorities to intercept and record the partners’ telephone conversations for a period of thirty days. From 27 September to27 October 2004 the fraud investigation unit intercepted and recorded C.I.’s conversations, including twelve conversations with the applicant. On 21 March 2005 the District Court held that the recordings were relevant to the criminal case against C.I.’s fellow partners in company M., and ordered that the transcripts and the tapes be placed under seal. Mr Pruteanu and C.I. both lodged appeals, which were declared inadmissible.
  • Relying in particular on Article 8, Mr Pruteanu complained of interference with his right to respect for his private life and correspondence on account of the recording of his telephone conversations with his client C.I.
  • Violation of Article 8
  1. European Union Agency of Fundamental Rights/Council of Europe Handbook on European data protection law

The Pan-European General Principles on Administrative Rulemaking

1. Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)7 on good administration

  • section II 'Rules governing administrative decisions'

The Pan-European General Principles on Public Procurement and other Competitive Award Procedures

under construction

The Pan-European General Principles on Local Self-Government 

1. European Charter on Local Self-Government (ETS. No. 122)

2. Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207)

3. Recommendation No. R (95) 19 of The Committee of Ministers to Member States on The Implementation of the Principle of Subsidiarity
  • observance of the principle of subsidiarity in member states’ legal systems in its dual dimension, as a criterion for allocating powers between different levels of government and guiding them in the exercise of these powers, can only contribute to a better application of the principles contained in the European Charter of Local Self-Government
  • effective performance of the increasingly numerous and complex tasks assigned to local and regional authorities demands the provision of adequate human and financial resources which, in some cases, are available only in organisations (territorial authorities or intermunicipal co-operation structures) of a large scale
  • the essentially political nature of local self-government, which must allow the citizen to participate more closely in the management of public affairs, and should therefore be entrusted to elected authorities;
  • local self-government requires the clearest possible division of powers as regards both the formulation and the implementation of policies, and presupposes that the authorities entrusted with these powers have the human, legal and financial resources to exercise them;
  • the protection of the financially weaker local authorities calls for the introduction of financial equalisation measures which, depending on the circumstances and the degree of financial autonomy of the local and regional authorities, may involve vertical equalisation (from central government) and/or horizontal equalisation (among local authorities)

4. European Commission for Democracy through Law – Compilation of Venice Commission Opinions concerning constitutional and legal provisions for the protection of local self-government

5. Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for local and regional government. Valencia Declaration on a Council of Europe Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level.

  • Good governance is a requirement at all levels of public administration. At local level, it is of fundamental importance because local government is closest to citizens and provides them with essential services and it is at this level that they can most readily feel ownership of public action.
  • In pursuit of this aim the Strategy has the following three objectives:
    • Citizens are placed at the heart of all democratic institutions and processes;
    • Local authorities constantly improve their governance in accordance with the 12 Principles set out below;
    • States (or regional authorities, depending on member states’ institutional structure) create and maintain the institutional preconditions for the improvement of governance at local level, building on their existing commitments in accordance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government and other Council of Europe standards.
  • The Principles of Good Democratic Governance at local level are:
  1. Fair Conduct of Elections, Representation and Participation, to ensure real possibilities for all citizens to have their say in local public affairs;
  2. Responsiveness, to ensure that the local authority meets the legitimate expectations and needs of citizens;
  3.  Efficiency and Effectiveness, to ensure that objectives are met while making the best use of resources;
  4. Openness and Transparency, to ensure public access to information and facilitate understanding of how local public affairs are conducted;
  5. Rule of Law, to ensure fairness, impartiality and predictability;
  6. Ethical Conduct, to ensure that the public interest is put before private ones;
  7. Competence and Capacity, to ensure that local representatives and officials are well able to carry out their duties;
  8. Innovation and Openness to Change, to ensure that benefit is derived from new solutions and good practices;
  9. Sustainability and Long-term Orientation, to take the interests of future generations into account;
  10. Sound Financial Management, to ensure prudent and productive use of public funds;
  11. Human rights, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion, to ensure that all citizens are protected and respected and that no one is either discriminated against or excluded;
  12. Accountability, to ensure that local representatives and officials take responsibility and are held responsible for their actions.