Article 26

1. [Composition] The Council shall consist of the representatives of the members of the Union. Each member of the Union shall appoint one representative to the Council and one alternate. Representatives or alternates may be accompanied by assistants or advisers.


2. [Officers] The Council shall elect a President and a first Vice-President from among its members. It may elect other Vice-Presidents. The first Vice-President shall take the place of the President if the latter is unable to officiate. The President shall hold office for three years.


3. [Sessions] The Council shall meet upon convocation by its President. An ordinary session of the Council shall be held annually. In addition, the President may convene the Council at his discretion; he shall convene it, within a period of three months, if one-third of the members of the Union so request.


4. [Observers] States not members of the Union may be invited as observers to meetings of the Council. Other observers, as well as experts, may also be invited to such meetings.


5. [Tasks] The tasks of the Council shall be to:

(i) study appropriate measures to safeguard the interests and to encourage the development of the Union;

(ii) establish its rules of procedure;

(iii) appoint the Secretary-General and, if it finds it necessary, a Vice Secretary-General and determine the terms of appointment of each;

(iv) examine an annual report on the activities of the Union and lay down the programme for its future work;

(v) give to the Secretary-General all necessary directions for the accomplishment of the tasks of the Union;

(vi) establish the administrative and financial regulations of the Union;

(vii) examine and approve the budget of the Union and fix the contribution of each member of the Union;

(viii) examine and approve the accounts presented by the Secretary-General;

(ix) fix the date and place of the conferences referred to in Article 38 and take the measures necessary for their preparation; and

(x) in general, take all necessary decisions to ensure the efficient functioning of the Union.


6. [Votes]

a) Each member of the Union that is a State shall have one vote in the Council.

b) Any Contracting Party that is an intergovernmental organization may, in matters within its competence, exercise the rights to vote of its member States that are members of the Union. Such an intergovernmental organization shall not exercise the rights to vote of its member States if its member States exercise their right to vote, and vice versa.


7. [Majorities] Any decision of the Council shall require a simple majority of the votes cast, provided that any decision of the Council under paragraph (5)(ii), paragraph(5)(vi), and paragraph (5)(vii) and under Article 28 (3), Article 29 (5) (b) and Article 38 (1) shall require three fourths of the votes cast. Abstentions shall not be considered as votes.