Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (CoE; French: Conseil de l'Europe, CdE) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.[2] Founded in 1949, it has 46 member states, with a population of approximately 675 million; it operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.[3]

Council of Europe
Conseil de l'Europe
FormationTreaty of London
TypeRegional intergovernmental organisation
HeadquartersPalace of Europe, Strasbourg, France
Official languages
English, French[1]
Secretary General
Marija Pejčinović Burić
Deputy Secretary General
Bjørn Berge
Tiny Kox
Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir
President of the Congress
Leendert Verbeek

The organisation is distinct from the European Union (EU), although it is sometimes confused with it, partly because the EU has adopted the original European flag, created for the Council of Europe in 1955,[4] as well as the European anthem.[5] No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe.[6] The Council of Europe is an official United Nations Observer.[7]

Being an international organisation, the Council of Europe cannot make laws,[8] but it does have the ability to push for the enforcement of select international agreements reached by member states on various topics.[9] The best-known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights, which functions on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights.[10]

The council's two statutory bodies are the Committee of Ministers, which comprises the foreign ministers of each member state, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is composed of members of the national parliaments of each member state.[11] The Commissioner for Human Rights is an institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights within the member states. The secretary general presides over the secretariat of the organisation. Other major CoE bodies include the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) and the European Audiovisual Observatory.[12]

The headquarters of the Council of Europe, as well as its Court of Human Rights, are situated in Strasbourg, France. English and French are its two official languages. The Committee of Ministers, the PACE, and the Congress of the Council of Europe also use German and Italian for some of their work.[13]

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