Council of Europe

The Council of Europe ( CoE ; French : Council of Europe ) is an international organization Whose Stated aim [2] is to uphold human rights , democracy , rule of law in Europe [3] and Promote European Culture . [4] Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, covers approximately 820 million people and operates with an annual budget of approximately half a billion euros . [5]

The organization separate is from the 28-nation European Union (EU), ALTHOUGH it is Sometimes confused with it, Partly Because The EU HAS ADOPTED the original European Flagqui Was created by the Council of Europe in 1955 [6] as well as the European Anthem . [7] No country has joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe. [8] The Council of Europe is an official United Nations Observer. [9]

Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe can not make binding laws, but it does have the power to enforce select international agreements reached by European states on various topics. The best known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights , which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights .

The Council of Ministers is the Committee of Ministers , comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, and the Parliamentary Assembly , composed of members of the national parliaments of each member state. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness and respect for human rights in the member states. The Secretary General heads the secretariat of the organization. Other major CoE bodies include the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines .

The headquarters of the Council of Europe are in Strasbourg , France . English and French are its two official languages . The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress also use German , Italian , Russian , and Turkish for some of their work.


In a speech at the University of Zurich is 19 September 1946 Sir Winston Churchill called Expired for a „kind of United States of Europe “ and for the establishment of a Council of Europe. [10] [11] He had spoken to a Council of Europe as early as 1943 in a broadcast radio. [12]

The future structure of the Council of Europe is a specific congress of several hundred leading politicians, government representatives and civil society in The Hague , Netherlands , in 1948. There were two schools of thought competing of governments, where others preferred to political forum with parliamentarians. Both approaches have been unanimously established by 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 , North Atlantic Treaty Organization and theOrganization for Security and Co-operation in Europe .

The Council of Europe was founded on May 5, 1949 by the Treaty of London . The Treaty of London or the Statute of the Council of Europe is signed by 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 , [13] Vatican City [14] , Kazakhstan and European territories with limited recognition Such As Artsakh , Abkhazia , South Ossetia , Northern Cyprus , Transnistria , and Kosovo .

Aims and achievements

Article 1 (a) of the Statute states that „The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity of purpose for the purpose of achieving economic and social progress and their economic and social progress. . “ [15] Membership is open to all European states who seek harmony, cooperation, good governance and human rights, accepting the principle of the rule of law and being able to guarantee democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms.

While the member states of the European Union share transfer of Their national legislative and executive powers to the European Commission and the European Parliament , Council of Europe member states sovereignty Maintain Their goal Themselves committed through agreements / treaties ( 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. Both organizations are concentric circles around the common foundations for European co-operation and harmony, with the Council of Europe being the geographically wider circle. The European Union could be seen to be smaller than the level of integration of the European Union. „The Council of Europe and the European Union: different roles, shared values.“ [16] Council of Europe conventions / treaties are also open for signature to non-member states, thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe.

The Council of Europe’s most famous achievement is the European Convention on Human Rights , which was adopted in 1950 following a report by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, and followed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). [17] The Convention created the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Court supervises compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and functions as the highest European court. It is to this court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that their country has violated their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The various activities and achievements of the Council of Europe can be found on the official website. The Council of Europe works in the following areas:

  • Protection of the rule of law and Fostering legal co-operation through Some 200 conventions and other Treaties, [18] Including Such leading instruments as the Convention is Cybercrime , the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism , Conventions against Corruption and Organized Crime, [19 ] [20] [21] The Convention on Human Trafficking in Human Beings and the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine . [22]
  • CODEXTER , designed to co-ordinate counter-terrorism measures
  • The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
  • Protection of human rights , including through:
    • the European Convention on Human Rights
    • the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
    • the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance
    • the Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings [23]
    • the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse [24]
    • The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence . [25]
    • social rights under the European Social Charter
    • linguistic rights under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
    • under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
    • Media freedom under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention on Transfrontier Television
  • Protection of democracy through parliamentary scrutiny and election monitoring by its Parliamentary Assembly and the Venice Commission .
  • The Center for Modern Languages ​​in Graz , Austria , and its North-South Center in Lisbon , Portugal .
  • Promotion of the right to education under Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and several agreements on the recognition of university studies and diplomas (voir aussi Bologna Processand Lisbon Recognition Convention ).
  • Promotion of fair sport through the Anti-Doping Convention [26]
  • Promotion of European youth exchanges and co-operation through European Youth Centers in Strasbourg and Budapest , Hungary .
  • Europe by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Pharmacopoeia .


The institutions of the Council of Europe are:

  • The Secretary General , who is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly and heads of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, the Prime Minister of Norway was elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe in September 2009. In June 2014, he was re-elected, and his second term in office started on 1 October 2014.
  • The Committee of Ministers , comprising the Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors accredited to the Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers‘ presidencies are held in alphabetical order for six months following the English alphabet: Turkey 11 / 2010-05 / 2011, Ukraine 05 / 2011-11 / 2011, the United Kingdom 11 / 2011-05 / 2012, Albania 05 / 2012-11 / 2012, Andorra 11 / 2012-05 / 2013, Armenia 05 / 2013-11 / 2013, Austria 11 / 2013-05 / 2014, and so on. [27]
  • The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which includes national parliamentarians from all member states. It elects its President for a year with the possibility of being re-elected for another year. In January 2016, Pedro Agramunt from Spain was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly. In 2017, October 6 Stella Kyriakides from Cyprus has been elected President of the PACE following the resignation of Pedro Agramunt. [28] It will remain in office until the opening of the next ordinary session in January, 2018. National parliamentary delegations to the Assembly must reflect the political spectrum of their national parliament, ie including government and opposition parties. The Assembly adjoins members as rapporteurs with the mandate to prepare parliamentary reports on specific subjects. The British MP Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe was rapporteur for the drafting of the European Convention on Human Rights . Dick Marty’s reports on secret CIADetention and rendition flights in Europe were made famous in 2006 and 2007. Other Assembly reports were instrumental in, for example, the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, highlighting the political and human rights situation in Chechnya , identifying who was responsible for disappeared persons in Belarus , chronicling threats to freedom of expression in the media and many other subjects.
  • The Congress of the Council of Europe , which was created in 1994 and included political representatives from local and regional authorities in all member states. The most influential instruments of the Council of Europe in this field are the European Charter of Local Self-Government of 1985 and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities of 1980. [29] [30]
  • The European Court of Human Rights , created under the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, is Composed of a judge from Each member state Elected for a single, non-renewable term of nine years by the Parliamentary Assembly and is headed by The Elected President of the Court. The current President of the Court is Guido Raimondi from Italy. Under the recent Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights , the Court’s case-processing was reformed and streamlined. Ratification of Protocol No. 14 was delayed by Russia for a number of years, but won in January 2010.
  • The Commissioner for Human Rights is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a non-renewable term of six years since the creation of this position in 1999. Since April 2012, this position has been held by Nils Muižnieksfrom Latvia. [31]
  • The Conference of INGOs. NGOs can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe . Since the [Resolution (2003) 8] adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 2003, they are given a „participatory status“. [32]
  • The Joint Council on Youth of the Council of Europe.The European Steering Committee (CDEJ) on the Youth of the Council of Europe (JCC) is part of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ). The CDEJ brings together representatives of ministries or parties responsible for youth matters from the 50 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention. The CDEJ fosters co-operation between governments in the youth sector and provides a framework for comparing national youth policies, exchanging best practices and drafting standard-setting texts. The Advisory Council on Youth includes 30 representatives of non-governmental youth organizations and networks. It provides advice and input from youth in the field of youth and other activities.
  • Information Offices of the Council of Europe in many member states.

The CoE system also includes a number of semi-autonomous structures known as “ Partial Agreements „, some of which are also open to non-member states:

  • The Council of Europe Development Bank in Paris
  • The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines with its European Pharmacopoeia
  • The European Audiovisual Observatory
  • The European Support Fund Eurimages for the co-production and distribution of films
  • The Pompidou Group – Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs
  • The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission
  • The Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO)
  • The European and Mediterranean Major Hazard Agreement (EUR-OPA) which is a platform for co-operation between European and Southern Mediterranean countries in the field of major natural and industrial disasters.
  • The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport, which is open to accession by states and sports associations. [33]
  • The North-South Center of the Council of Europe in Lisbon (Portugal)
  • The Center for Modern Languages ​​is in Graz (Austria)

Headquarters and buildings

The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg , France. First meetings were held in Strasbourg’s University Palace in 1949, but the Council of Europe soon moved into its own buildings. The Council of Europe’s eight main buildings are located in the European Quarter , an area in the northeast of Strasbourg spread over the three districts of The Wacken, The Robertsau and The Orangery District, where are the four buildings of the seat of the the European Parliament in Strasbourg , the Arte headquarters and the seat of the International Institute of Human Rights .

Building in the area started in 1949 with the predecessor of the Palace of 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. [34] The Palace of Europe ( Palace of Europe ) and the Art Nouveau Villa Schutzenberger (seat of the European Audiovisual Observatory ) are in the Orangery district, and the European Court of Human Rights , the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines 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 March 13, 2008, at theMIPIM 2008. [35] The European Youth Center 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 Center of the Council of Europe is established in Lisbon , Portugal , and the Center for Modern Languages ​​is in Graz , Austria . There are European Youth Centers in Budapest , Hungary , and Strasbourg. The European Wergeland Center, a new resource center for intercultural dialogue, human rights and democratic citizenship, operated in cooperation with the Norwegian Government, opened in Oslo , Norway, in February 2009. [36]

The Council of Europe has offices in Albania , Armenia , Azerbaijan , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Georgia , Moldova , Montenegro , Serbia , and Ukraine ; information offices in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria , Czech Republic , Estonia , Georgia, Hungary , Latvia , Lithuania , Moldova, Poland , Romania , Russian Federation , Slovakia , Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia , and Ukraine; and a project office in Turkey . All these offices are establishments of the Council of Europe and they share their legal personality with privileges and immunities.

The Council of Europe is expected to cut the number of its activities, and thus the number of its employees, from 2011 on. This will be a huge impact on the economy of the city of Strasbourg, where a total of 2,321 people (on 1 January 2010) are doing paid work for the CoE. Most offices in foreign countries are expected to be closed as well. [37]

Member states, observers, partners

Main article: Member states of the Council of Europe

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 West Germany the next year. It now has 47 member states, with Montenegro being the latest to join.

Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute requires that membership be „European“ State. This has-been liberally construed From The Beginning (when Turkey Was admis) to include transcontinental states Such as Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Nearly all European countries have access to the Council of Europe, with the exceptions of Belarus ( human rights concerns ), Kazakhstan ( human rights concerns ), and the Vatican City (a theocracy ), as well as some of the territories with limited recognition .

Besides the status of a member of the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe has established the following instruments : observer, applicant, special guest, and partner for democracy.


Non-member states

The Council of Europe works mainly through conventions. By drafting conventions or international treaties. However, several conventions have been opened for signature to non-member states. Important examples are the Convention on Cybercrime (signed for example, by Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States), the Lisbon Recognition Convention (Australia, Belarus, Canada, the Holy See , Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand and the United States), the Anti- doping Convention (signed, for example, by Australia, Belarus, Canada and Tunisia) and theConvention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (signed by Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal as well as the European Community ). The Venice Commission , the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), the European Pharmacopoeia Commission and the North-South Center, also participate .

Invitations to sign and ratify under the auspices of the Council of Europe [38]

  • Non-European states: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uruguay, Venezuela and the observers Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, United States.
  • European states: Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Vatican City.
  • the European Community and later the European Union after-ict legal personality Was Established by the ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty .

European Union

The Council of Europe is not confused with the Council of the European Union (the Council of Ministers) or the European Council . These belong to the European Union , which they have separated from the Council of Europe, but they have shared the same European flag and anthem since the 1980s because they both work for European integration . The Council of Europe is not confused with the European Union itself.

The Council of Europe is an entirely separate body [39] from the European Union. It is not controlled by it.

Cooperation between the European Union and the Council of Europe has been strengthened, notably on culture and education and the international enforcement of justice and Human Rights. [40]

The European Union is expected to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). There are aussi Concerns about consistency in case law – the European Court of Justice (the EU’s court in Luxembourg ) is Treating the Convention as share of the legal system of all EU member states in order to prevent prevention conflict entre icts Judgments and Those of the European Court of Human Rights (the court in Strasbourg interpreting the Convention). Protocol No. 14 of the Convention is designed to allow access to the EU Treaty of Lisboncontains a protocol binding the EU to join. The EU would thus be subject to its current status and its member states. [41] [42]

United Nations

The beginning of a co-operation between the CoE and the United Nations approved a resolution on granting observer status to the Council of Europe which was proposed by several member states of the CoE. with the agreement signed by the Secretariats of these institutions on 15 December 1951. On 17 October 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations . It has organized a conference against racism and on women and co-operates with the United Nations at many levels, in particular in the areas of human rights, minorities, migration and counter-terrorism. In November 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution (A / Res / 71/17) on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, the ongoing co-operation in a variety of fields. [43] Currently Council of Europe holds observer status with the United Nations and is regularly represented in the UN General Assembly

Non-governmental organizations

Non-governmental organizations ( NGOs ) can participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe and become observers to inter-governmental committees of experts. The Council of Europe drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organizations 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, the right to freedom of association, which is also a fundamental norm for NGOs. The rules for Consultative Status for INGOs (93) 38 „On the relationship between the Council of Europe and non-governmental organizations“, 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 has changed the consultative status of a participatory status,“ considering that it is essential that the rules governing Relationships between the Council of Europe and NGOs evolve to the active participation of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in the Organization’s policy and work program „. [44]


Privileges and immunities

The General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe grants the organization certain privileges and immunities. [45]

The working conditions of staff are governed by the Council’s staff regulations, which are public. [46] Salaries and emoluments paid by the Council of Europe to its officials are tax-exempt on the basis of Article 18 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe. [45]

Symbol and anthem

The Council of Europe created, and has since 1955, the European Flag with 12 golden stars arranged in a circle on a blue background.

Its musical anthem since 1972, the “ European Anthem „, is based on the “ Ode to Joy “ theme from Ludwig van Beethoven ’s Ninth Symphony .

On May 5, 1964, the 15th anniversary of its founding, the Council of Europe established 5 May as Europe Day . [47]

The wide private and public use of the European Flag is encouraged to symbolize a European dimension. To avoid confusion with the European Union, the European Union , the Council of Europe often uses a modified version with a lower case „Council of Europe Logo“. [47] [48]

Criticism and controversies

In recent years, the Council of Europe has been criticized for doing too little to stand up to the transgressions of some of its members. In 2013 The Economist agreed, saying that the Council of Europe’s credibility is on the line. [49] Both Human Rights Watch and the European Stability Initiative have been called upon to the Council of Europe to make it a reality and to be able to do so. [50]

Issues-have-been raised Regarding Azerbaijan ’s relationship to the Council of Europe, Including allegations That Azerbaijan HAS, over a sustained period, Provided snippets to Council members to vote down criticism of the authoritarian rule of the Aliyev diet and supporting motions Advantageous to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001. In September 2014 Human Rights Watch , said that Azerbaijan’s „systematic crackdown on human rights defenders and other perceived political authorities shows its commitment to its commitments to the Council of Europe“. [51] In 2017 Council member and Italian politician Luca Volontè was accused by Italian prosecutors of receiving over 2.3 million euros in bribes in exchange for working for Azerbaijan in the parliamentary assembly, and that in 2013 he played a key role in orchestrating the defeat of a highly critical report on the abuse of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. [52] [53] The money was paid to 100,000 euros in installments of 100,000 euros, starting in 2013, via four anonymous offshore companies. The payments stopped in 2014 when Volontè ’s bank reported them as suspicious transactions to the Milan prosecutor‘ s office. [54] Arif Mammadov, head of the Azerbaijan representation at the Council of Europe, submitted that $ 25 million was made available to the Council of Europe to the Council of Europe to „bribe members of the delegations and Pace „. [55]

See also

  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  • Conference of Specialized Ministers
  • Council of Europe Archives
  • European Anti-fraud Office
  • European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • European Social Charter
  • European Union
  • Film Award of the Council of Europe
  • Group of States Against Corruption
  • Moneyval
  • European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
  • International organizations in Europe , and co-ordinated organizations
  • List of linguistic rights in European constitutions
  • North-South Center of the Council of Europe
  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Venice Commission
  • World Anti-Doping Agency


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  51. Jump up^   Human Rights Watch (29 September 2014). „Azerbaijan: Government Repression Tarnishes Chairmanship Council of Europe ’s Leadership Should Take Action“ . Retrieved 29 September 2014 .
  52. Jump up^  Jennifer Rankin, Council of Europe urged to investigate Azerbaijan bribery allegations , The Guardian, 1 February 2017[2].
  53. Jump up^  Matthew Valencia,  Heaping on the Caviar Diplomacy
  54. Jump up^   Gabanelli, Milena. „He Consiglio of Europa e il caso Azerbaijan tra regali e milioni“ .  Corriere della Sera  (in Italian) . Retrieved 2017-01-30 .
  55. Jump up^  Jennifer Rankin, Fresh claims of Azerbaijan vote-rigging at European human rights body , The Guardian, 20 April 2017[3].