Council of Europe

Council of Europe
Conseil de l'Europe
Council of Europe logo (2013 revised version).png
Council of Europe (orthographic projection).svg
FormationTreaty of London 1949
TypeRegional intergovernmental organisation
HeadquartersStrasbourg, France
Official languages
English, French
Other working languages: German, Italian, Russian[1][2]
Secretary General
Marija Pejčinović Burić
Deputy Secretary General
Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni
President of the Parliamentary Assembly
Rik Daems
President of the Committee of Ministers
David Zalkaliani
President of the Congress

The Council of Europe (CoE; French: Conseil de l'Europe, CdE; German: Europarat) is an international organisation whose stated aim[3] is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.[4] Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, with a population of approximately 820 million, and operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.[5]

The organisation is distinct from the 27-nation European Union (EU), although it is sometimes confused with it, partly because the EU has adopted the original European Flag which was created by the Council of Europe in 1955,[6] as well as the European Anthem.[7] No country has ever 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 cannot 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's two statutory bodies are 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 of and respect for human rights in the member states. The Secretary General heads the secretariat of the organisation. Other major CoE bodies include the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and the European Audiovisual Observatory.

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, and Russian for some of their work.


Plaque commemorating the first session of the Council of Europe Assembly at Strasbourg University

In a speech in 1929, French Foreign Minister [3] But it was Britain's wartime leader Sir words, he tried to "peer through the mists of the future to the end of the war," once victory had been achieved, and think about how to re-build and maintain peace on a shattered continent. Given that Europe had been at the origin of two world wars, the creation of such a body would be, he suggested, "a stupendous business". He returned to the idea during a well-known speech at the University of Zurich on 19 September 1946,[10][11] throwing the full weight of his considerable post-war prestige behind it.

Session of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in the former House of Europe in Strasbourg in 1967. Willy Brandt, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, is speaking.

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, Netherlands, 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 a Committee of Ministers (in which governments were represented) and a Consultative Assembly (in which parliaments were represented), the two main bodies mentioned in the Statute of the Council of Europe. This dual intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary structure was later copied for the European Communities, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London. The Statute was signed in London on that day by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, though Turkey and Greece joined three months later. On 10 August 1949, 100 members of the Council's Consultative Assembly, parliamentarians drawn from the twelve member nations, met in Strasbourg for its first plenary session, held over 18 sittings and lasting nearly a month. They debated how to reconcile and reconstruct a continent still reeling from war, yet already facing a new East-West divide, launched the concept of a trans-national court to protect the basic human rights of every European citizen, and took the first steps towards what would in time become the European Union.

In August 1949, [4] Convinced the Council of Europe was never going to be strong enough to achieve his long-term goal of European unification,[12] he soon tried again in a different format, becoming one of the founders of the European Union.[13]

Historic speeches at the Council of Europe

In 2018 an archive of all speeches made to the launch, the archive comprised 263 speeches delivered over a 70-year period by some 216 Presidents, Prime Ministers, monarchs and religious leaders from 45 countries - though it continues to expand, as new speeches are added every few months.

Some very early speeches by individuals considered to be "founding figures" of the European institutions, even if they were not heads of state or government at the time, are also included (such as Sir Winston Churchill or Robert Schuman). Addresses by eight monarchs appear in the list (such as King Juan Carlos I of Spain, King Albert II of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg) as well as the speeches given by religious figures (such as Pope John Paul II, and Pope Francis) and several leaders from countries in the Middle East and North Africa (such as Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat, Hosni Mubarak, Léopold Sédar Senghor or King Hussein of Jordan).

The full text of the speeches is given in both English and French, regardless of the original language used. The archive is searchable by country, by name, and chronologically.[14]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Raad van Europa
Alemannisch: Europarat
العربية: مجلس أوروبا
asturianu: Conseyu d'Europa
azərbaycanca: Avropa Şurası
беларуская: Савет Еўропы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Рада Эўропы
български: Съвет на Европа
bosanski: Vijeće Evrope
brezhoneg: Kuzul Europa
čeština: Rada Evropy
Cymraeg: Cyngor Ewrop
davvisámegiella: Eurohpáráđđi
Deutsch: Europarat
dolnoserbski: Europska rada
føroyskt: Evroparáðið
한국어: 유럽 평의회
hornjoserbsce: Europska rada
hrvatski: Vijeće Europe
Bahasa Indonesia: Majelis Eropa
interlingua: Consilio de Europa
Interlingue: Consilie del Europa
íslenska: Evrópuráðið
къарачай-малкъар: Европаны Кенгеши
Kreyòl ayisyen: Konsey Ewòp
Кыргызча: Европа кеңеши
кырык мары: Европын Согоньжы
latviešu: Eiropas Padome
Lëtzebuergesch: Europarot
lietuvių: Europos Taryba
Limburgs: Raod van Europa
македонски: Совет на Европа
მარგალური: ევროპაშ სხუნუ
مازِرونی: اروپا شورا
Bahasa Melayu: Majlis Eropah
Nederlands: Raad van Europa
日本語: 欧州評議会
Nordfriisk: Euroopariad
norsk nynorsk: Europarådet
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Yevropa Kengashi
polski: Rada Europy
português: Conselho da Europa
русский: Совет Европы
Simple English: Council of Europe
slovenčina: Rada Európy
slovenščina: Svet Evrope
Soomaaliga: Golaha Yurub
српски / srpski: Савет Европе
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Savjet Evrope
svenska: Europarådet
татарча/tatarça: Аурупа Шурасы
Türkçe: Avrupa Konseyi
українська: Рада Європи
Tiếng Việt: Ủy hội châu Âu