Council of Europe
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The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
to uphold
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Social norm, normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ce ...
,
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
and the
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
. Founded in 1949, it has 46 member states, with a population of approximately 675 million; it operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
s. The organisation is distinct from the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
(EU), although it is sometimes confused with it, partly because the EU has adopted the original European flag, created for the Council of Europe in 1955, as well as the European anthem. No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is an official United Nations Observer. Being an international organization, the Council of Europe cannot make laws, but it does have the ability to push for the enforcement of select international agreements reached by member states on various topics. The best-known body of the Council of Europe is the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
, which functions on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights. The council's two statutory bodies are the Committee of Ministers, comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is composed of members of the national parliaments of each member state. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the member states. The Secretary General presides over the secretariat of the organisation. Other major CoE bodies include the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) and the European Audiovisual Observatory. The headquarters of the Council of Europe, as well as its Court of Human Rights, are situated in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
. English and French are its two
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
s. The Committee of Ministers, the PACE, and the Congress of the Council of Europe also use German and Italian for some of their work.


History


Founding

In a speech in 1929, French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand floated the idea of an organisation which would gather European nations together in a "federal union" to resolve common problems. But it was Britain's wartime leader Sir
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
who first publicly suggested the creation of a "Council of Europe" in a BBC radio broadcast on 21 March 1943, while the Second World War was still raging. In his own words, he tried to "peer through the mists of the future to the end of the war", and think about how to re-build and maintain peace on a shattered continent. Given that Europe had been at the origin of two world wars, the creation of such a body would be, he suggested, "a stupendous business". He returned to the idea during a well-known speech at the University of Zurich on 19 September 1946,, including audio extracts Including full transcript throwing the full weight of his considerable post-war prestige behind it. But there were many other statesmen and politicians across the continent, many of them members of the European Movement, who were quietly working towards the creation of the council. Some regarded it as a guarantee that the horrors of war could never again be visited on the continent, others came to see it as a "club of democracies", built around a set of common values that could stand as a bulwark against totalitarian states belonging to the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a Sover ...
. Others again saw it as a nascent "United States of Europe", the resonant phrase that Churchill had reached for at Zurich in 1946. The future structure of the Council of Europe was discussed at the Congress of Europe which brought together several hundred leading politicians, government representatives and members of civil society in
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a list of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, situated on the west coast facing the North Sea. The Hague is the country's ad ...
,
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
, in 1948. There were two competing schools of thought: some favoured a classical international organisation with representatives of governments, while others preferred a political forum with parliamentarians. Both approaches were finally combined through the creation of a Committee of Ministers (in which governments were represented) and a Consultative Assembly (in which parliaments were represented), the two main bodies mentioned in the Statute of the Council of Europe. This dual intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary structure was later copied for the European Communities,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 30 Member sta ...
and OSCE. The Council of Europe was signed into existence on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London, the organisation's founding Statute which set out the three basic values that should guide its work: democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It was signed in London on that day by ten states:
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
,
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small land ...
, the
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
,
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
, though
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
and
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
joined three months later. On 10 August 1949, 100 members of the council's Consultative Assembly, parliamentarians drawn from the twelve member nations, met in Strasbourg for its first plenary session, held over 18 sittings and lasting nearly a month. They debated how to reconcile and reconstruct a continent still reeling from war, yet already facing a new East–West divide, launched the concept of a trans-national court to protect the basic human rights of every citizen, and took the first steps in a process that would eventually lead to the creation of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. In August 1949, Paul-Henri Spaak resigned as Belgium's foreign minister in order to be elected as the first president of the assembly. Behind the scenes, he too had been quietly working towards the creation of the council, and played a key role in steering its early work. However, in December 1951, after nearly three years in the role, Spaak resigned in disappointment after the Assembly rejected proposals for a "European political authority". Convinced that the Council of Europe was never going to be in a position to achieve his long-term goal of a unified Europe, he soon tried again in a new and more promising format, based this time on economic integration, becoming one of the founders of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
.


Early years

There was huge enthusiasm for the Council of Europe in its early years, as its pioneers set about drafting what was to become the European Convention on Human Rights, a charter of individual rights which – it was hoped – no member government could ever again violate. They drew, in part, on the tenets of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
, signed only a few months earlier in Paris. But crucially, where the Universal Declaration was essentially aspirational, the European Convention from the beginning featured an enforcement mechanism - an international Court - which was to adjudicate on alleged violations of its articles and hold governments to account, a dramatic leap forward for international justice. Today, this is the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
, whose rulings are binding on 47 European nations, the most far-reaching system of international justice anywhere in the world. One of the council's first acts was to welcome
West Germany West Germany is the colloquial term used to indicate the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 O ...
into its fold on 2 May 1951, setting a pattern of post-war reconciliation that was to become a hallmark of the council, and beginning a long process of "enlargement" which was to see the organisation grow from its original ten founding member states to the 47 nations that make up the Council of Europe today. Iceland had already joined in 1950, followed in 1956 by Austria, Cyprus in 1961, Switzerland in 1963 and Malta in 1965.


Historic speeches at the Council of Europe

In 2018, an archive of all speeches made to the PACE by heads of state or government since the Council of Europe's creation in 1949 appeared online, the fruit of a two-year project entitled "Voices of Europe". At the time of its launch, the archive comprised 263 speeches delivered over a 70-year period by some 216 presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and religious leaders from 45 countries – though it continues to expand, as new speeches are added every few months. Some very early speeches by individuals considered to be "founding figures" of the European institutions, even if they were not heads of state or government at the time, are also included (such as Sir
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
or Robert Schuman). Addresses by eight monarchs appear in the list (such as King Juan Carlos I of Spain, King Albert II of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg) as well as the speeches given by religious figures (such as
Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his ...
, and
Pope Francis Pope Francis ( la, Franciscus; it, Francesco; es, link=, Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the head of the Catholic Church. He has been the bishop of Rome and sovereign of the Vatican City State since 13 March 2013. ...
) and several leaders from countries in the Middle East and North Africa (such as
Shimon Peres Shimon Peres (; he, שמעון פרס ; born Szymon Perski; 2 August 1923 – 28 September 2016) was an Israeli politician who served as the eighth prime minister of Israel from 1984 to 1986 and from 1995 to 1996 and as the List of Presidents ...
, Yasser Arafat, Hosni Mubarak, Léopold Sédar Senghor or King
Hussein of Jordan Hussein bin Talal ( ar, الحسين بن طلال, ''Al-Ḥusayn ibn Ṭalāl''; 14 November 1935 – 7 February 1999) was King of Jordan from 11 August 1952 until Death and state funeral of King Hussein, his death in 1999. As a member of the ...
). The full text of the speeches is given in both English and French, regardless of the original language used. The archive is searchable by country, by name, and chronologically.


Aims and achievement

Article 1(a) of the Statute states that "The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress." Membership is open to all European states who seek harmony, cooperation, good governance and human rights, accepting the principle of the rule of law and are able and willing to guarantee democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms. Whereas the member states of the European Union transfer part of their national legislative and executive powers to the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
and the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
, Council of Europe member states maintain their sovereignty but commit themselves through conventions/treaties (
international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptua ...
) and co-operate on the basis of common values and common political decisions. Those conventions and decisions are developed by the member states working together at the Council of Europe. Both organisations function as concentric circles around the common foundations for European co-operation and harmony, with the Council of Europe being the geographically wider circle. The European Union could be seen as the smaller circle with a much higher level of integration through the transfer of powers from the national to the EU level. "The Council of Europe and the European Union: different roles, shared values." Council of Europe conventions/treaties are also open for signature to non-member states, thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe. The Council of Europe's most famous achievement is the European Convention on Human Rights, which was adopted in 1950 following a report by the PACE, and followed on from the United Nations '
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
' (UDHR). The Convention created the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
in Strasbourg. The Court supervises compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and thus functions as the highest European court. It is to this court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that a member country has violated their fundamental rights and freedoms. The various activities and achievements of the Council of Europe can be found in detail on its official website. The Council of Europe works in the following areas: * Protection of the
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
and fostering legal co-operation through some 200 conventions and other treaties, including such leading instruments as the Convention on Cybercrime, the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, Conventions against Corruption and Organised Crime, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine. * CODEXTER, designed to co-ordinate counter-terrorism measures * The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) * Protection of
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Social norm, normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ce ...
, notably through: ** the European Convention on Human Rights ** the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture ** the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance ** the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings ** the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data ** the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse ** The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. ** social rights under the European Social Charter ** European Charter of Local Self-Government guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. ** linguistic rights under the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty (CETS 148) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional language, regional and minority languages in E ...
** minority rights under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ** Media freedom under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention on Transfrontier Television * Protection of
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
through parliamentary scrutiny and election monitoring by its Parliamentary Assembly as well as assistance in democratic reforms, in particular by the Venice Commission. * Promotion of cultural co-operation and diversity under the Council of Europe's Cultural Convention of 1954 and several conventions on the protection of cultural heritage as well as through its Centre for Modern Languages in
Graz Graz (; sl, Gradec) is the capital city of the Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine Stat ...
,
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
, and its North-South Centre in
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
. * Promotion of the right to education under Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and several conventions on the recognition of university studies and diplomas (see also Bologna Process and Lisbon Recognition Convention). * Promotion of fair sport through the Anti-Doping Convention * Promotion of European youth exchanges and co-operation through European Youth Centres in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...
and
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
. * Promotion of the quality of medicines throughout Europe by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Pharmacopoeia. *Support for intercultural integration through the Intercultural Cities (ICC) program. This program offers information and advice for local authorities on the integration of minorities and the prevention of discrimination.


Institutions

The institutions of the Council of Europe are: * The Secretary General, who is elected for a term of five years by the PACE and heads the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. Thorbjørn Jagland, the former Prime Minister of Norway, was elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 29 September 2009. In June 2014, he became the first Secretary General to be re-elected, commencing his second term in office on 1 October 2014. * The Committee of Ministers, comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all 47 member states who are represented by their Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors accredited to the Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers' presidencies are held in alphabetical order for six months following the English alphabet:
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
11/2010-05/2011,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
05/2011-11/2011, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
11/2011-05/2012,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
05/2012-11/2012,
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin)"United virtue is stro ...
11/2012-05/2013,
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
05/2013-11/2013,
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
11/2013-05/2014, and so on. * The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which comprises national parliamentarians from all member states. Adopting resolutions and recommendations to governments, the Assembly holds a dialogue with its governmental counterpart, the Committee of Ministers, and is often regarded as the "motor" of the organisation. The national parliamentary delegations to the Assembly must reflect the political spectrum of their national parliament, i.e. comprise government and opposition parties. The Assembly appoints members as rapporteurs with the mandate to prepare parliamentary reports on specific subjects. The British MP Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe was rapporteur for the drafting of the European Convention on Human Rights. Dick Marty's reports on secret CIA detentions and rendition flights in Europe became quite famous in 2006 and 2007. Other Assembly reports were instrumental in, for example, the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, highlighting the political and human rights situation in
Chechnya Chechnya ( rus, Чечня́, Chechnyá, p=tɕɪtɕˈnʲa; ce, Нохчийчоь, Noxçiyçö), officially the Chechen Republic,; ce, Нохчийн Республика, Noxçiyn Respublika is a republics of Russia, republic of Russia. I ...
, identifying who was responsible for disappeared persons in
Belarus Belarus,, , ; alternatively and formerly known as Byelorussia (from Russian ). officially the Republic of Belarus,; rus, Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus. is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by R ...
, chronicling threats to freedom of expression in the media and many other subjects. * The Congress of the Council of Europe (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe), which was created in 1994 and comprises political representatives from local and regional authorities in all member states. The most influential instruments of the Council of Europe in this field are the European Charter of Local Self-Government of 1985 and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities of 1980. * The
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
, created under the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, is composed of a judge from each member state elected for a single, non-renewable term of nine years by the PACE and is headed by the elected president of the court. The current president of the court is Guido Raimondi from Italy. Under the recent Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the Court's case-processing was reformed and streamlined. Ratification of Protocol No. 14 was delayed by Russia for a number of years, but won support to be passed in January 2010. * The Commissioner for Human Rights is elected by the PACE for a non-renewable term of six years since the creation of this position in 1999. Since April 2018, this position has been held by Dunja Mijatović from Bosnia and Herzegovina. * The Conference of INGOs. NGOs can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe. Since the esolution (2003)8adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 2003, they are given a "participatory status". * The Joint Council on Youth of the Council of Europe. The European Steering Committee (CDEJ) on Youth and the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) of the Council of Europe form together the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ). The CDEJ brings together representatives of ministries or bodies responsible for youth matters from the 50 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention. The CDEJ fosters co-operation between governments in the youth sector and provides a framework for comparing national youth policies, exchanging best practices and drafting standard-setting texts. The Advisory Council on Youth comprises 30 representatives of non-governmental youth organisations and networks. It provides opinions and input from youth NGOs on all youth sector activities and ensures that young people are involved in the council's other activities. * Information Offices of the Council of Europe in many member states. The CoE system also includes a number of semi-autonomous structures known as " Partial Agreements", some of which are also open to non-member states: * The Council of Europe Development Bank in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), ma ...
* The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines with its European Pharmacopoeia * The European Audiovisual Observatory * The European Support Fund '' Eurimages'' for the co-production and distribution of films * The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, which awards the certification " Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" to transnational networks promoting European heritage and intercultural dialogue (Luxembourg) * The Pompidou Group – Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs * The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission * The Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) * The European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) which is a platform for co-operation between European and Southern Mediterranean countries in the field of major natural and technological disasters. * The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport, which is open to accession by states and sport associations. * The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
(Portugal) * The Centre for Modern Languages is in
Graz Graz (; sl, Gradec) is the capital city of the Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine Stat ...
(Austria)


Headquarters and buildings

The seat of the Council of Europe is in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...
, France. First meetings were held in Strasbourg's
University A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities ty ...
Palace in 1949, but the Council of Europe soon moved into its own buildings. The Council of Europe's eight main buildings are situated in the ''Quartier européen'', an area in the northeast of Strasbourg spread over the three districts of Le Wacken, La Robertsau and Quartier de l'Orangerie, where are also located the four buildings of the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Arte headquarters and the seat of the International Institute of Human Rights. Building in the area started in 1949 with the predecessor of the Palais de l'Europe, the House of Europe (demolished in 1977), and came to a provisional end in 2007 with the opening of the New General Office Building, later named "Agora", in 2008. The Palais de l'Europe ( Palace of Europe) and the
Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorative arts. The style is known by different names in different languages: in German, in Italian, in Catalan, and also ...
Villa Schutzenberger (seat of the European Audiovisual Observatory) are in the Orangerie district, and the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
, the EDQM and the Agora Building are in the Robertsau district. The Agora building has been voted "best international business center real estate project of 2007" on 13 March 2008, at the MIPIM 2008. The European Youth Centre is located in the Wacken district. Besides its headquarters in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe is also present in other cities and countries. The Council of Europe Development Bank has its seat in Paris, the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe is established in
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
, and the Centre for Modern Languages is in
Graz Graz (; sl, Gradec) is the capital city of the Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine Stat ...
,
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
. There are European Youth Centres in
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
, and in Strasbourg. The European Wergeland Centre, a new Resource Centre on education for intercultural dialogue, human rights and democratic citizenship, operated in cooperation with the Norwegian Government, opened in
Oslo Oslo ( , , or ; sma, Oslove) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a Counties of Norway, county and a Municipalities of Norway, municipality. The municipality o ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
, in February 2009. The Council of Europe has external offices all over the European continent and beyond. There are four ‘Programme Offices’, namely in Ankara, Podgorica, Skopje, Venice. There are also ‘Council of Europe Offices’ in Baku, Belgrade, Chisinau, Kyiv, Paris, Pristina, Sarajevo, Tbilisi, Tirana, and Yerevan. Bucharest has a Council of Europe Office on Cybercrime. There are also Council of Europe Offices in non-European capital cities like Rabat and Tunis. Additionally, there are 4 "Council of Europe Liaison Offices", this includes: * Council of Europe Liaison Office in Brussels: The office is in charge of liaison with the European Union * Council of Europe Office in Geneva:  Permanent Delegation of the Council of Europe to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva * Council of Europe Office in Vienna: The office is in charge of liaison with the OSCE, United Nations Office, and other international organisations in Vienna * Council of Europe Office in Warsaw: The office is in charge of liaison with other international organisations and institutions in Warsaw, in particular the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR)


Member states, observers, partners


Eligibility

There are two main criteria for membership: geographic (Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute specifies that membership is open to any "European" State) and political (Article 3 of the Statute states applying for membership must accept democratic values—"Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter I"). Since "Europe" is not defined in international law, the definition of "Europe" has been a question that has recurred during the CoE's history.
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
was admitted in 1950, although it is a transcontinental state that lies mostly in Asia, with a smaller portion in Europe. In 1994, the PACE adopted Recommendation 1247, which said that admission to the CoE should be "in principle open only to states whose national territory lies wholly or partly in Europe"; later, however, the Assembly extended eligibility to apply and be admitted to
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
,
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester ...
, and Georgia.


Member states and observers

The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
,
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small land ...
,
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
,
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
.
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
joined 3 months later.
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic countries, Nordic island country in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most list of countries and dependencies by population density, sparsely populated coun ...
West Germany West Germany is the colloquial term used to indicate the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 O ...
and Saarland Protectorate joined the Council of Europe as associate members in 1950. West Germany became a full member in 1951, and the Saar withdrew its application after it joined West Germany following the 1955 Saar Statute referendum. Joining later were
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
(1956),
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country located south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Its continental position is disputed; while it is geo ...
(1961), Switzerland (1963), Malta (1965), and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
(1976). Spain joined in 1977, two years after the death of its dictator Francisco Franco and the Spanish transition to democracy. Next to join were Liechtenstein (1978), San Marino (1988) and Finland (1989). After the fall of Communism with the Revolutions of 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the post-Soviet states in Europe that began democratization joined:
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
(1990), Poland (1991), Bulgaria (1992), Estonia (1993), Lithuania (1993), Slovenia (1993), the Czech Republic (1993), Slovakia (1993), Romania (1993), Latvia (1995), Moldova (1995),
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
(1995),
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
(1995), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1995) (later renamed North Macedonia), Russia (1996, expelled 2022), Croatia (1996), Georgia (1999),
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
(2001),
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester ...
(2001), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002) and Serbia and Montenegro (later Serbia) (2003). Also joining were the small Western European nations of
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin)"United virtue is stro ...
(1994) and Monaco (2004). The Council now has 46 member states, with Montenegro (2007) being the latest to join.46 "Member States"
Council of Europe.
Although most Council members are predominantly Christian in heritage, there are three Muslim-majority member states: Turkey, Albania, and Azerbaijan. The CoE has granted some countries a status that allows them to participate in CoE activities without being full members. There are three types of nonmember status: ''associate member'', ''special guest'' and ''observer''. Associate member status is no longer used. "Special guest" status was used as a transitional status for post-Soviet countries that wished to join the council after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and is no longer commonly used. "Observer" status is for non-European nations who accept democracy, rule of law, and human rights, and wish to participate in Council initiatives. The United States became an observer state in 1995. Currently, Canada, the Holy See, Japan, Mexico, and the United States are observer states, while Israel is an observer to the PACE.


Withdrawal, suspension, and expulsion

The Statute of the Council of Europe provides for the voluntary suspension, involuntary suspension, and exclusion of members.Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou & Donal K. Coffey
Suspension and expulsion of members of the Council of Europe: difficult decisions in troubled times
''International & Comparative Law Quarterly'', Vol. 68, Issue 2 (2019).
Article 8 of the Statute provides that any member who has "seriously violated" Article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation, and that the Committee of Ministers may request that such a member withdraw from the Council under Article 7. (The Statute does not define the "serious violation" phrase. Under Article 8 of the Statute, if a member state fails to withdraw upon request, the Committee may terminate its membership, in consultation with the PACE. The Council suspended Greece in 1967, after a Greek junta, military coup d'état, and the Greek junta withdrew from the CoE. Greece was readmitted to the council in 1974.


Suspension and exclusion of Russia

Russia became a member of the Council of Europe in 1996. In 2014, after Russia invaded and Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, annexed Crimea from Ukraine and Russian separatist forces in Donbas, supported separatists in eastern Ukraine, precipitating a bloody conflict, the Council stripped Russia of its voting rights in the PACE.Steven Erlanger
Council of Europe Restores Russia's Voting Rights
''New York Times'' (June 25, 2019).
In response, Russia began to boycott the Assembly in 2016, and beginning in 2017 refused to pay its annual membership dues of 32.6 million euros (US$37.1 million) to the Council placing the institution under financial strain. Russia claimed that its suspension by the council was unfair, and demanded the restoration of voting rights. Russia had threatened to withdraw from the Council unless its voting rights were restored in time for the election of a new secretary general. European Council secretary-general Thorbjørn Jagland organized a special committee to find a compromise with Russia in early 2018, a move that was criticized as giving in to alleged Russian pressure by Council members and academic observers, especially if voting sanctions were lifted. In June 2019, the Council voted (on a 118–62 vote, with 10 abstentions) to restore Russia's voting rights in the council. Opponents of lifting the suspension included Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries, such as Poland and the Baltic states, who argued that readmission amounted to normalizing Russia's malign activity. Supporters of restoring Russia's council rights included France and Germany,Steven Erlanger
The Council of Europe suspends Russia for its attack on Ukraine.
''New York Times'' (March 3, 2022).
which argued that a Russian withdrawal from the council would be harmful because it would deprive Russian citizens of their ability to initiate cases in the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
. On 3 March 2022, after 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, the council suspended Russia for violations of the council's statute and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The suspension blocked Russia from participation in the council's ministerial council, the PACE, and the Council of the Baltic Sea States, but still left Russia obligated to follow the ECHR.Pooja Mehta
Russia withdraws from Council of Europe
''JURIST'' (March 12, 2022).
On 15 March 2022, hours before the vote to expel the country, Russia initiated a voluntary withdrawal procedure from the council, delivering its formal desire to withdraw on 31 December 2022, and announced its intent to Denunciation (international law), denounce the ECHR. However, on the same day, the council's Committee of Ministers decided Russia's membership in the council would be immediately terminated, and determined that Russia had been excluded from the Council instead under its exclusion mechanism rather than the withdrawal mechanism. After being excluded from the Council of Europe, Russia's former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev endorsed restoring the Capital punishment in Russia, death penalty in Russia.


Co-operation


Non-member states

The Council of Europe works mainly through international treaties, usually called conventions in its system. By drafting conventions or international treaties, common legal standards are set for its member states. However, several conventions have also been opened for signature to non-member states. Important examples are the Convention on Cybercrime (signed for example, by Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States), the Lisbon Recognition Convention on the recognition of study periods and degrees (signed for example, by Australia, Belarus, Canada, the Holy See, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand and the United States), the Anti-Doping (sport), doping Convention (signed, for example, by Australia, Belarus, Canada and Tunisia) and the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (signed for example, by Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal as well as the European Community). Non-member states also participate in several partial agreements, such as the Venice Commission, the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), the European Pharmacopoeia Commission and the North-South Centre. Invitations to sign and ratify relevant conventions of the Council of Europe on a case-by-case basis are sent to three groups of non-member entities: * Non-European states: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uruguay, Venezuela and the observers Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, United States. * European states: Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia and the observer Vatican City. * the European Community and later the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
after its legal personality was established by the ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.


European Union

The Council of Europe is not to be confused with the Council of the European Union (the "Council of Ministers") or the European Council. These belong to the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
, which is separate from the Council of Europe, although they have shared the same European flag and anthem since the 1980s since they both work for European integration. Nor is the Council of Europe to be confused with the European Union itself. The Council of Europe is an entirely separate body from the European Union. It is not controlled by it. Cooperation between the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
and the Council of Europe has recently been reinforced, notably on culture and education as well as on the international enforcement of justice and Human Rights. The European Union is expected to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (the convention). There are also concerns about consistency in case law – the European Court of Justice (the EU's court in
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small land ...
) is treating the convention as part of the legal system of all Member state of the European Union, EU member states in order to prevent conflict between its judgements and those of the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
(the court in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburi , gsw, label=Haut Rhin Alsatian dialect, Alsatian, Strossburig ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and largest city of the Grand Est Re ...
interpreting the convention). Protocol No. 14 of the convention is designed to allow the EU to accede to it and the EU Treaty of Lisbon contains a protocol binding the EU to join. The EU would thus be subject to its human rights law and external monitoring as its member states currently are.


Schools of Political Studies

The Council of Europe Schools of political studies were established to train future generations of political, economic, social and cultural leaders in countries in transition. With the participation of national and international experts, they run annual series of seminars and conferences on topics such as European integration, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and globalisation. The first School of Political Studies was created in Moscow in 1992. Since then, 20 other schools have been set up along the same lines and now form an Association; a genuine network now covering the whole of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, as well as some countries in the Southern Mediterranean region. The Council of Europe Schools of political studies is part of the Education Department which is part of the Directorate of Democratic Participation within the Directorate General of Democracy ("DGII") of the Council of Europe.


United Nations

The beginning of co-operation between the CoE and the UN started with the agreement signed by the Secretariats of these institutions on 15 December 1951. On 17 October 1989, the United Nations General Assembly, General Assembly of the United Nations approved a resolution on granting observer status to the Council of Europe which was proposed by several member states of the CoE. Currently, the Council of Europe holds United Nations General Assembly observers, observer status with the United Nations and is regularly represented in the UN General Assembly. It has organised the regional UN conferences against racism and on women and co-operates with the United Nations at many levels, in particular in the areas of human rights, minorities, migration and counter-terrorism. In November 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution (A/Res/71/17) on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe whereby it acknowledged the contribution of Council of Europe to the protection and strengthening of human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, welcomed the ongoing co-operation in a variety of fields.


Non-governmental organisations

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe and become observers to inter-governmental committees of experts. The Council of Europe drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations in 1986, which sets the legal basis for the existence and work of NGOs in Europe. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of association, which is also a fundamental norm for NGOs. The rules for consultative status for INGOs appended to the resolution (93)38 "On relation between the Council of Europe and International nongovernmental organizations, non-governmental organisations", adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 18 October 1993 at the 500th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. On 19 November 2003, the Committee of Ministers changed the consultative status into a participatory status, "considering that it is indispensable that the rules governing the relations between the Council of Europe and NGOs evolve to reflect the active participation of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) in the Organisation's policy and work programme".


Others

On 30 May 2018, the Council of Europe signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Association football, football confederation UEFA. The Council of Europe also signed an agreement with FIFA in which the two agreed to strengthen future cooperation in areas of common interests. The deal which included cooperation between member states in the sport of football and safety and security at football matches was finalized in October 2018.


Characteristics


Privileges and immunities

The General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe grants the organisation certain privileges and immunities.General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The working conditions of staff are governed by the council's staff regulations, which are public. Salaries and emoluments paid by the Council of Europe to its officials are tax-exempt on the basis of Article 18 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe.


Symbol and anthem

The Council of Europe created, and has since 1955 used as its official symbol, the Flag of Europe, European Flag with 12 golden stars arranged in a circle on a blue background. Its musical anthem since 1972, the " European anthem", is based on the "Ode to Joy" theme from Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), ninth symphony. On 5 May 1964, the 15th anniversary of its founding, the Council of Europe established 5 May as Europe Day. The wide private and public use of the European Flag is encouraged to symbolise a European dimension. To avoid confusion with the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
which subsequently adopted the same flag in the 1980s, as well as other European institutions, the Council of Europe often uses a modified version with a lower-case "e" surrounding the stars which are referred to as the "Council of Europe Logo".


Criticism and controversies

The Council of Europe has been accused of not having any meaningful purpose, being superfluous in its aims to other pan-European bodies, including the European Union and OSCE. In 2013 ''The Economist'' agreed, saying that the "Council of Europe's credibility is on the line". Both Human Rights Watch and the European Stability Initiative have called on the Council of Europe to undertake concrete actions to show that it is willing and able to return to its "original mission to protect and ensure human rights". In October 2022, a new and different Pan-European meeting of 44 states was held, as the "inaugural summit of the European Political Community (2022), European Political Community", a new forum largely organized by French President Emmanuel Macron. The Council of Europe, sidelined, reportedly was "perplexed" with this development, with a spokesperson stating "In the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, such a pan-European community already exists: it is the Council of Europe." A feature of the new forum is that Russia and
Belarus Belarus,, , ; alternatively and formerly known as Byelorussia (from Russian ). officially the Republic of Belarus,; rus, Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus. is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by R ...
are deliberately excluded, but that does not immediately explain the need for a different entity, Russia is no longer a member of the Council of Europe and Belarus only participates partially, as a non-member.


"Caviar diplomacy" scandal

After Azerbaijan joined the CoE in 2001, both the Council and its Parliamentary Assembly were criticized for having a weak response to election rigging and Human rights in Azerbaijan, human rights violations in Azerbaijan. The Human Rights Watch criticized the Council of Europe in 2014 for allowing Azerbaijan to assume the six-month rotating chairmanship of the council's Committee of Ministers, writing that the Azeri government's repression of human rights defenders, dissidents, and journalists "shows sheer contempt for its commitments to the Council of Europe". An internal inquiry was set up in 2017 amid allegations of bribery by Azerbajian government officials and criticism of "caviar diplomacy at the Council.Jennifer Rankin
Council of Europe urged to investigate Azerbaijan bribery allegations
''The Guardian'', 1 February 2017.
A 219-page report was issued in 2018 after a ten-month investigation. It concluded that several members of the Parliamentary Assembly broke CoE ethical rules and were "strongly suspected" of corruption; it strongly criticized former Parliamentary Assembly president Pedro Agramunt and suggested that he had engaged in "corruptive activities" before his resignation under pressure in 2017. The inquiry also named Italian member Luca Volontè as a suspect in "activities of a corruptive nature". Volontè was investigated by Italian police and accused by Italian prosecutors in 2017 of receiving over 2.39 million euros in bribes in exchange for working for Azerbaijan in the parliamentary assembly, and that in 2013 he played a key role in orchestrating the defeat of a highly critical report on the abuse of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. In 2021, Volontè was convicted of accepting bribes from Azerbaijani officials to water down critiques of the nation's human rights record, and he was sentenced by a court in Milan to four years in prison.Zdravko Ljubas
Italian Court Sentences Former Council of Europe MP for Bribery
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (January 14, 2021).


See also

* CAHDI * Common European Framework of Reference for Languages * Conference of Specialised Ministers * Council of Europe Archives * The Europe Prize * European Anti-fraud Office * Film Award of the Council of Europe * Moneyval * International organisations in Europe, and co-ordinated organisations * List of Council of Europe treaties * List of linguistic rights in European constitutions * North–South Centre of the Council of Europe


Notes


Footnotes


References


Further reading

* * Dinan, Desmond. ''Europe Recast: A History of European Union'' (2nd ed. 2004)
excerpt
; the excerpt covers the historiography * Gillingham, John. ''Coal, Steel, and the Rebirth of Europe, 1945–1955: The Germans and French from Ruhr Conflict to Economic Community'' (Cambridge UP, 2004). * * Kopf, Susanne. ''Debating the European Union Transnationally: Wikipedians' Construction of the EU on a Wikipedia Talk Page (2001–2015)''. (PhD dissertation Lancaster University, 201
online
* Moravcsik, Andrew. ''The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht'' (Cornell UP, 1998). . . * Stone, Dan. ''Goodbye to All That?: The Story of Europe Since 1945'' (Oxford UP, 2014). *


External links

*

Paris, 2 September 1949 {{DEFAULTSORT:Council of Europe Council of Europe, 1949 establishments in England Councils International organizations based in Europe International organizations based in France Organizations based in Strasbourg Organizations established in 1949 Politics of Europe United Nations General Assembly observers