Council of Europe

Council of Europe

Overview
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the areas of legal standards, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 development, the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 and cultural co-operation. It was founded in 1949, has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens, and is an entirely separate body from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU), which has only 27 member states. Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws.
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Encyclopedia
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the areas of legal standards, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 development, the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 and cultural co-operation. It was founded in 1949, has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens, and is an entirely separate body from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU), which has only 27 member states. Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws. The two do however share certain symbols such as the flag of Europe. The Council of Europe has nothing to do with either the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 or the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

, which are both EU bodies.

The best known bodies of the Council of Europe are the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

, and the European Pharmacopoeia
European Pharmacopoeia
The European Pharmacopoeia of the Council of Europe is a pharmacopoeia, listing a wide range of active substances and excipients used to prepare pharmaceutical products in Europe...

 Commission, which sets the quality standards for pharmaceutical products in Europe. The Council of Europe's work has resulted in standards, charters and conventions to facilitate cooperation between European countries.

Its statutory institutions are the Committee of Ministers
Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe or commonly the Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It comprises the Foreign Affairs Ministers of all the member states, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg...

 comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, the Parliamentary Assembly
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an...

 composed of MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 from the Parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 of each member state, and the Secretary General
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe is appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly on the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers for a period of five years...

 heading the secretariat of the Council of Europe. The Commissioner for Human Rights
Commissioner for Human Rights
The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, mandated to promote the awareness of and respect for human rights in member states...

 is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the member states.

The headquarters of the Council of Europe are in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, with English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 as its two official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

s. The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress also use German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, and Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 for some of their work.

History



In a speech at the University of Zurich
University of Zurich
The University of Zurich , located in the city of Zurich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy....

 on 19 September 1946, Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 called for a "kind of United States of Europe
United States of Europe
Since the 1950s, European integration has seen the development of a supranational system of governance, as its institutions move further from the concept of simple intergovernmentalism. However, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, new intergovernmental elements have been introduced alongside the...

" and the creation of a Council of Europe. He had spoken of a Council of Europe as early as 1943 in a radio broadcast.

The future structure of the Council of Europe was discussed at a specific congress of several hundred leading politicians, government representatives and civil society in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, in 1948. There were two schools of thought competing: 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 the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly under the Statute of the Council of Europe. This dual intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary structure was later copied for the European Communities
European Communities
The European Communities were three international organisations that were governed by the same set of institutions...

, NATO and the OSCE.
The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London. The Treaty of London or the Statute of the Council of Europe was signed in London on that day by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Many other states followed, especially after the democratic transitions in central and eastern Europe during the early 1990s, and the Council of Europe now includes all European states except Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and the states with limited recognition.

Aims and achievements


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." Therefore, membership is open to all European states which seek European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

, accept the principle of the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 and are able and willing to guarantee democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, fundamental human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and freedoms
Freedom (political)
Political freedom is a central philosophy in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important features of democratic societies...

.

While the member states of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 transfer national legislative and executive powers to the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 and the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 in specific areas under European Community law, Council of Europe member states maintain their sovereignty but commit themselves through conventions (i.e. public international law) 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, whereas secondary European Community law is set by the organs of the European Union. Both organisations function as concentric circles around the common foundations for European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

, 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. Being part of public international law, Council of Europe conventions could also be opened for signature to non-member states thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe (see chapter below).

The Council of Europe's most famous achievement is the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

, which was adopted in 1950 following a report by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. The Convention created the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 in Strasbourg. The Court supervises compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and thus functions as the highest European court for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is to this court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that a member country has violated their fundamental rights.

The wide activities and achievements of the Council of Europe can be found in detail on its official website. In a nutshell, the Council of Europe works in the following areas:
  • Protection of the rule of law
    Rule of law
    The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

     and fostering legal co-operation through some 200 conventions and other treaties, including such leading instruments as the Convention on Cybercrime
    Convention on Cybercrime
    The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or just the Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Computer crime and Internet crimes by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation...

    , the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism
    Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism
    The Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism 2006 [CECPT] is a regional multilateral treaty negotiated under the auspices of the Council of Europe...

    , the Conventions against Corruption and Organised Crime, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
    Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
    The Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings is a regional human rights treaty of the international human rights law by the Council of Europe...

    , and the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.
  • CODEXTER
    CODEXTER
    CODEXTER, formally the Committee of Experts on Terrorism, is an inter-governmental committee of experts of the Council of Europe.It was founded in 2003 to replace the Multidisciplinary Group on International Action Against Terrorism ....

    , designed to co-ordinate counter-terrorism measures
  • The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
  • Protection of human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

    , notably through:
    • the European Convention on Human Rights
      European Convention on Human Rights
      The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

    • the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
    • the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
      European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
      European Commission against Racism and Intolerance is the Council of Europe’s independent human rights monitoring body specialised in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance. It consists of 47 experts, one from every CoE member state. ECRI publishes...

    • the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
      Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
      The Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings is a regional human rights treaty of the international human rights law by the Council of Europe...

    • the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
    • social rights under the European Social Charter
      European Social Charter
      The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty which was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996. The Revised Charter came into force in 1999 and is gradually replacing the initial 1961 treaty...

    • linguistic rights under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
      European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
      The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is a European treaty adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe...

    • minority rights under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
      Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
      The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was signed on February 1995 by 22 member States of the Council of Europe ....

    • Media freedom
      Freedom of the press
      Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

       under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention on Transfrontier Television
  • Protection of democracy
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

     through parliamentary scrutiny and election monitoring by its Parliamentary Assembly as well as assistance in democratic reforms, in particular by the Venice Commission
    Venice Commission
    The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. It was created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall, at a time of urgent need for constitutional assistance in Central and Eastern Europe...

    .
  • 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
    The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

    , Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    , and its North-South Centre
    North-South Centre
    The North–South Centre, officially named the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, is an autonomous agency — called a Partial Agreement — of the Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation of European states.-History:...

     in Lisbon
    Lisbon
    Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

    , Portugal
    Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

    .
  • Promotion of the right to education under Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights
    European Convention on Human Rights
    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

     and several conventions on the recognition of university studies and diplomas (see also Bologna Process
    Bologna process
    The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

     and Lisbon Recognition Convention
    Lisbon Recognition Convention
    The Lisbon Recognition Convention is an international convention of the Council of Europe elaborated together with the UNESCO. The Convention has been signed by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg except for Greece, Monaco, and San Marino. It has been signed, but not...

    ).
  • Promotion of fair sport through the Anti-Doping Convention and the Convention against Spectator Violence.
  • Promotion of European youth exchanges and co-operation through European Youth Centres in Strasbourg
    Strasbourg
    Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

     and Budapest
    Budapest
    Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

    , Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    .
  • Promotion of the quality of medicines throughout Europe by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
    European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
    The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines of the Council of Europe came into being in its current form in 1996. It consists of the Technical Secretariat of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission long referred to as the European Pharmacopoeia set up in 1964 by the European Pharmacopoeia...

     and its European Pharmacopoeia
    European Pharmacopoeia
    The European Pharmacopoeia of the Council of Europe is a pharmacopoeia, listing a wide range of active substances and excipients used to prepare pharmaceutical products in Europe...

    .

Institutions



The institutions of the Council of Europe are:
  • The Secretary General
    Secretary General of the Council of Europe
    The Secretary General of the Council of Europe is appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly on the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers for a period of five years...

    , who is elected for a term of five years by the Parliamentary Assembly
    Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an...

     and heads the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. The current Secretary General is the former Prime Minister of Norway
    Prime Minister of Norway
    The Prime Minister of Norway is the political leader of Norway and the Head of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Stortinget , to their political party, and ultimately the...

    , Thorbjørn Jagland
    Thorbjørn Jagland
    is a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party, currently serving as the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe...

    , who took office on 1 October 2009.
  • The Committee of Ministers, comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all 47 member states who are represented by their Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors
    Ministers Deputies
    The Ministers’ Deputies are the representatives of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers at Strasbourg.While the Committee of Ministers is the executive organ of the Council of Europe, it actually only meets once year in Strasbourg, in what are known as the Ministerial sessions...

     accredited to the Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers' presidencies are held in alphabetical order for six months following the English alphabet: Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     11/2010-05/2011, Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

     05/2011-11/2011, the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     11/2011-05/2012, Albania
    Albania
    Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

     05/2012-11/2012, Andorra
    Andorra
    Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

     11/2012-05/2013, Armenia
    Armenia
    Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

     05/2013-11/2013, Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

     11/2013-05/2014, and so on.
  • The Parliamentary Assembly
    Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an...

     (PACE), which comprises national parliamentarians from all member states and elects its President for a year with the possibility of being re-elected for another year. In January 2010, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly. 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
    European Convention on Human Rights
    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

    . Dick Marty
    Dick Marty
    Dick Marty is a Swiss politician and former state prosecutor of the canton of Ticino. He is a member of the Swiss Council of States , and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.-Education:Marty holds a doctorate in law from the University of Neuchâtel with the thesis:...

    's reports on secret CIA detentions and rendition flights in Europe became quite famous in 2007. Other Assembly rapporteurs were instrumental in, for example, the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, the political and human rights situation in Chechnya
    Chechnya
    The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

    , disappeared persons in Belarus
    Belarus
    Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

    , 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
    European Charter of Local Self-Government
    The European Charter of Local Self-Government was adopted under the auspices of the Congress of the Council of Europe and was opened for signature by the Council of Europe's member states on 15 October 1985...

     of 1985 and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities of 1980.
  • The European Court of Human Rights
    European Court of Human Rights
    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

    , created under the European Convention on Human Rights
    European Convention on Human Rights
    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

     of 1950, is composed of a judge from each member state elected for a renewable term of six years by the Parliamentary Assembly
    Parliamentary assembly
    A parliamentary assembly can mean one of the following:*National Parliament, a type of state legislative assembly body*Assembly of national parliaments, an inter-parliamentary institution of state national legislatures...

     and is headed by the elected President of the Court. Since 2007, Jean-Paul Costa from France is the President of the Court. Under the new Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights
    European Convention on Human Rights
    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

    , the terms of office of judges shall be nine years but non-renewable. 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
    Commissioner for Human Rights
    The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, mandated to promote the awareness of and respect for human rights in member states...

    , who is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly
    Parliamentary assembly
    A parliamentary assembly can mean one of the following:*National Parliament, a type of state legislative assembly body*Assembly of national parliaments, an inter-parliamentary institution of state national legislatures...

     for a non-renewable term of six years since the creation of this position in 1999. This position is held since 2006 by Thomas Hammarberg
    Thomas Hammarberg
    Thomas Hammarberg is a Swedish diplomat and human rights defender.He is currently the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg...

     from Sweden.
  • The Conference of INGOs. NGOs (NGOs) can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe
    INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe
    The INGO Conference is the body representing civil society in the Council of Europe, a European organisation founded in 1949...

    . Since the [Resolution (2003)8] adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 2003, they are given a "participatory status".
  • 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 Agreement
Partial agreement
Partial agreement is a term used within the Council of Europe to refer to a major activity of European cooperation that is organised by the Council of Europe but does not include all of its member states. This form of activity dates from a resolution adopted by the Council of Europe's Committee of...

s", some of which are also open to non-member states:
  • The Council of Europe Development Bank
    Council of Europe Development Bank
    The Council of Europe Development Bank dates from 1956, when the Council of Europe established the Resettlement Fund for National Refugees and Over-Population in Europe as a Partial Agreement...

     in Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

  • The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
    European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
    The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines of the Council of Europe came into being in its current form in 1996. It consists of the Technical Secretariat of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission long referred to as the European Pharmacopoeia set up in 1964 by the European Pharmacopoeia...

     with its European Pharmacopoeia
    European Pharmacopoeia
    The European Pharmacopoeia of the Council of Europe is a pharmacopoeia, listing a wide range of active substances and excipients used to prepare pharmaceutical products in Europe...

  • The European Audiovisual Observatory
    European Audiovisual Observatory
    The European Audiovisual Observatory was set up by the Council of Europe as a Partial Agreement. Its legal basis is Resolution 70 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, 15 December 1992...

  • The European Support Fund Eurimages
    Eurimages
    Eurimages is the Council of Europe fund for the co-production, distribution, exhibition and digitisation of European cinematographic works. It aims to promote the European film industry by encouraging the production and distribution of films and fostering co-operation between professionals....

    for the co-production and distribution of films
  • The Pompidou Group
    Pompidou Group
    Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs is an inter-governmental body formed in 1971 at the suggestion of the late French President Georges Pompidou.- History :...

     - Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs
  • The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission
    Venice Commission
    The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. It was created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall, at a time of urgent need for constitutional assistance in Central and Eastern Europe...

  • The Group of States Against Corruption
    Group of States Against Corruption
    The Group of States against Corruption , the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body with its Headquarters in Strasbourg ,...

     (GRECO)
  • The European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA)
    EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement
    The EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement is a Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe, set up in 1987 by Resolution 2 of the Committee of Ministers...

     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
    North-South Centre
    The North–South Centre, officially named the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, is an autonomous agency — called a Partial Agreement — of the Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation of European states.-History:...

     of the Council of Europe in Lisbon
    Lisbon
    Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

     (Portugal)
  • The Centre for Modern Languages is in Graz
    Graz
    The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

     (Austria)

Headquarters and buildings




The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, France. First meetings were held in Strasbourg's University
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

 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 north-east 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
Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
The city of Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament. The institution is legally bound to meet there twelve sessions a year lasting about four days each. Other work takes place in Brussels and Luxembourg City...

, the Arte
Arte
Arte is a Franco-German TV network. It is a European culture channel and aims to promote quality programming especially in areas of culture and the arts...

 headquarters and the seat of the International Institute of Human Rights
International Institute of Human Rights
The International Institute of Human Rights is an association under French local law based in Strasbourg, France...

.

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
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 Villa Schutzenberger (seat of the European Audiovisual Observatory
European Audiovisual Observatory
The European Audiovisual Observatory was set up by the Council of Europe as a Partial Agreement. Its legal basis is Resolution 70 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, 15 December 1992...

) are in the Orangerie district, and the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines of the Council of Europe came into being in its current form in 1996. It consists of the Technical Secretariat of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission long referred to as the European Pharmacopoeia set up in 1964 by the European Pharmacopoeia...

 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
MIPIM
MIPIM is a trade show that its organisers describe as a "market for international property trade". It takes place annually in Cannes, France in March. In 2004, MIPIM attracted 15,157 participants from 67 countries...

 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
North-South Centre
The North–South Centre, officially named the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, is an autonomous agency — called a Partial Agreement — of the Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation of European states.-History:...

 of the Council of Europe is established in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, and the Centre for Modern Languages is in Graz
Graz
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. There are European Youth Centres
European Youth Centres
The European Youth Centres are two structures hosting part of the Council of Europe. The two structures are run by the Directorate of Youth and Sport.The European Youth Centres are residential educational, training and meeting centres....

 in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. 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
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, in February 2009.

The Council of Europe has offices in Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

; information offices in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Georgia, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Moldova, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Russian Federation, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, and Ukraine; and a projects office in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. All these offices are establishments of the Council of Europe and they share its juridical personality with privileges and immunities.

Due to persistent budgetary shortages, the Council of Europe is expected to cut down significantly the number of its activities, and thus the number of its employees, from 2011 on. This will notably affect the economy of the city of Strasbourg, where a total of 2,321 people (on 1 January 2010) are doing salaried work for the CoE. Most offices in foreign countries are expected to be closed as well.

Symbols



The Council of Europe created and uses as its official symbols the famous European Flag with 12 golden stars arranged in a circle on a blue background since 1955, and the European Anthem based on the Ode to Joy
Ode to Joy
"Ode to Joy" is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind...

 in the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's Ninth symphony
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 since 1972.

On 5 May 1964, the 15th anniversary of its founding, the Council of Europe established 5 May as Europe Day
Europe Day
In Europe, Europe Day is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. There are two separate designations of Europe Day: 5 May for the Council of Europe, and 9 May for the European Union...

.

Although protected by copyright, the wide private and public use of the European Flag is encouraged to symbolise a European dimension. To avoid confusion with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 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' in the centre of the stars which is referred to as the "Council of Europe Logo".

Membership, observers, partners



The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 joined three months later, and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 the next year. It now has 47 member states, with Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 being the latest to join.

Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute specifies that membership is open to any "European" State. This has been interpreted liberally from the beginning (when Turkey was admitted) to include any Eurasian state with a toe-hold in Europe.

As a result, nearly all European states have acceded to the Council of Europe, with the exception of Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 (human rights concerns
Human rights in Belarus
Since the election of the country's first president, Aleksandr Lukashenko in July 1994, Lukashenko has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place...

), Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 (human rights concerns
Human rights in Kazakhstan
The human rights situation in Kazakhstan has been an area of concern for many outside governmental and non-governmental observers. Observer group Freedom House ranks this former Soviet state with a 6 in Political Rights and a 5 in Civil Liberties , denoting it as "Not Free."The website of the US...

), Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 (a theocracy
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

) and some of the states with limited recognition.

Besides the status of full member the Council of Europe has established other instruments for cooperation and participation
Member states of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has 47 member states.The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Greece and Turkey joined three months later, and Iceland and Germany the next year...

 of non-member states: observer, applicant, special guest, partner for democracy.

Non-member states


The Council of Europe works mainly through conventions. 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
Convention on Cybercrime
The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or just the Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Computer crime and Internet crimes by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation...

 (signed for example, by Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

), the Lisbon Recognition Convention
Lisbon Recognition Convention
The Lisbon Recognition Convention is an international convention of the Council of Europe elaborated together with the UNESCO. The Convention has been signed by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg except for Greece, Monaco, and San Marino. It has been signed, but not...

 on the recognition of study periods and degrees (signed for example, by Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and the USA), the Anti-doping
Doping (sport)
The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is commonly referred to by the term "doping", particularly by those organizations that regulate competitions. The use of performance enhancing drugs is mostly done to improve athletic performance. This is why many sports ban the use of performance...

 Convention (signed for example, by Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

) and the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats
The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats 1979, also known as the Bern Convention , came into force on June 1, 1982....

 (signed for example, by Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 as well as the European Community). Non-member states also participate in several partial agreements, such as the Venice Commission
Venice Commission
The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. It was created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall, at a time of urgent need for constitutional assistance in Central and Eastern Europe...

, the Group of States Against Corruption
Group of States Against Corruption
The Group of States against Corruption , the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body with its Headquarters in Strasbourg ,...

 GRECO, the European Pharmacopoeia
European Pharmacopoeia
The European Pharmacopoeia of the Council of Europe is a pharmacopoeia, listing a wide range of active substances and excipients used to prepare pharmaceutical products in Europe...

 Commission and the North-South Centre
North-South Centre
The North–South Centre, officially named the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, is an autonomous agency — called a Partial Agreement — of the Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation of European states.-History:...

.

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
    Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

    , Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    , Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    , Bahamas, Bolivia
    Bolivia
    Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

    , Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

    , Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

    , Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

    , People's Republic of China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

    , Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

    , Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

    , Dominican Republic
    Dominican Republic
    The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

    , Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

    , El Salvador
    El Salvador
    El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

    , Honduras
    Honduras
    Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

    , South Korea
    South Korea
    The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

    , Kyrgystan, Lebanon
    Lebanon
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

    , Malaysia, Mauritius
    Mauritius
    Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

    , Morocco
    Morocco
    Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

    , New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    , Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

    , Peru
    Peru
    Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

    , Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

    , Senegal
    Senegal
    Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

    , South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    , Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , Tajikistan
    Tajikistan
    Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

    , Tonga
    Tonga
    Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

    , Trinidad and Tobago
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

    , Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

    , Uruguay
    Uruguay
    Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

    , Venezuela
    Venezuela
    Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

     and the observers Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    , Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

    , United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    .
  • European states: Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

    , Belarus
    Belarus
    Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

     and the observer Vatican City
    Vatican City
    Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

    .
  • the European Community and later the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

     after its legal personality
    Legal personality
    Legal personality is the characteristic of a non-human entity regarded by law to have the status of a person....

     was established by the ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

Relations in general between the CoE and the EU


As mentioned in the introduction, it is important to realise that the Council of Europe is not to be mistaken with the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 (the "Council of Ministers") or the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

. These belong to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, which is separate from the Council of Europe, although they have shared the same European flag and anthem since the 1980s because they also work for European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

.

Cooperation between the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 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
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 (the Convention). There are also concerns about consistency in case law - the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 (the EU's court in Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

) is treating the Convention as part of the legal system of all EU member states in order to prevent conflict between its judgements and those of the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 (the court in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 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
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

 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.

United Nations


The Council of Europe holds observer status with the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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.

Non-governmental Organisations


Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe
INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe
The INGO Conference is the body representing civil society in the Council of Europe, a European organisation founded in 1949...

 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
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 protects the right to freedom of association, which is also a fundamental norm for NGOs. The rules for Consultative Status
Consultative Status
Consultative Status is a phrase whose use can be traced to the founding of the United Nations and is used within the UN community to refer to "Non-governmental organizations in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council." Also some international organizations could...

 for INGOs appended to the resolution (93)38 "On relation between the Council of Europe and 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 (Resolution Res (2003)8)“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”.

See also


  • CAHDI
    CAHDI
    CAHDI, formally the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law, is a committee of the Council of Europe.It is an intergovernmental committee bringing together the legal advisers of the 47 member states of the Council as well as those of observer states and organisations.CAHDI meets...

  • CODEXTER
    CODEXTER
    CODEXTER, formally the Committee of Experts on Terrorism, is an inter-governmental committee of experts of the Council of Europe.It was founded in 2003 to replace the Multidisciplinary Group on International Action Against Terrorism ....

  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
    Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
    The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries...

  • Conference of Specialised Ministers
    Conference of Specialised Ministers
    The organisation of a Conference of Specialised Ministers is a traditional working method of the Council of Europe.The purpose of such conferences is to define and pursue the goals of the Council of Europe’s intergovernmental activities in their particular fields of competence...

  • Continental organizations
  • Council of Europe Archives
    Council of Europe Archives
    The Council of Europe Archives are located at the headquarters of the Organisation at the Palace of Europe in Strasbourg, France. They were set up in 1949 soon after the Organisation was created. Open to the public, they constitute a unique research source for the early history of European...

  • Film Award of the Council of Europe
  • Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

  • European Anti-fraud Office
  • European Court of Human Rights
    European Court of Human Rights
    The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

  • European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
    European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
    The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is a European treaty adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe...

  • European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

  • Group of States Against Corruption
    Group of States Against Corruption
    The Group of States against Corruption , the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body with its Headquarters in Strasbourg ,...

  • International organisations in Europe
    International organisations in Europe
    The following table lists the independent European states, and their memberships in selected organisations and treaties.1 These countries are currently not participating in the EU's single market , but the EU has common external Customs Union agreements with Turkey , Andorra and San Marino...

    , and Co-ordinated organisations
    Co-ordinated organisations
    The expression coordinated organizations refers to several European intergovernmental organizations that have a common system of remuneration and pension. They are independent but have a common method of adjusting their salary scales...

  • List of Linguistic Rights in Constitutions (Europe)
  • North–South Centre of the Council of Europe
  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe statistics
    Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe statistics
    1 These countries are currently not participating in the EU's single market , but the EU has common external Customs Union agreements with Turkey , Andorra and San Marino . Monaco participates in the EU customs union through its relationship with France; its ports are administered by the French...

  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
    Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the oldest international parliamentary assembly with a pluralistic composition of democratically elected members of parliament established on the basis of an...

  • WADA
    World Anti-Doping Agency
    The World Anti-Doping Agency , , is an independent foundation created through a collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee . It was set up on November 10, 1999 in Lausanne, Switzerland, as a result of what was called the "Declaration of Lausanne", to promote, coordinate and...


External links