Council of Europe
|Council of Europe|
|English name||Council of Europe (CoE)|
|French name||Conseil de l'Europe (CdE)|
|Organization type||international ( regional ) intergovernmental organization (political, legal, social, economic cooperation)|
|Seat of the organs||Strasbourg , France|
|Parliamentary Assembly||Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe|
|founding||May 5, 1949|
|anthem||Ode to Joy (instrumental)|
|holiday||May 5th ( Europe Day )|
The Council of Europe - English Council of Europe (CoE) , French Conseil de l'Europe (CdE) - is a European international organization founded on May 5, 1949 by the Treaty of London . Today the Council of Europe has 47 states with 820 million citizens.
"The task of the Council of Europe is to bring about a closer union among its members."
The Council of Europe is not institutionally linked to the European Union (EU), even though both use the European flag and the European anthem . The Council of Europe should not be confused with the EU institutions, the European Council (organ of the heads of state and government) and the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers).
In May 2007, the EU and the Council of Europe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as a political declaration of intent .
The Council of Europe was founded by ten northern and western European countries. It received its formal statute on May 5, 1949 from Belgium , Denmark , France , Ireland , Italy , Luxembourg , the Netherlands , Norway , Sweden and the United Kingdom in the London Ten Power Pact . It is the oldest originally political organization of European states. It was founded by the European Conference on Federation at the instigation of the American Committee for a United Europe .
In addition to the economic OEEC (merged into the OECD ) and military cooperation within the framework of NATO , the political unification of the continent took on concrete forms with the Council of Europe.
The Federal Republic of Germany joined the body on July 14, 1950, initially as an associate member and became a full member in May 1951. The Saarland (until 1 January 1957 autonomous state) was already on 13 May 1950 and an associate from May 2, 1951 a full member. Austria became a member in 1956, Switzerland in 1963.
With three exceptions, all European states now belong to the Council of Europe. The Vatican City State does not, as such relations with other States, but leaves its international representation to the Holy See - the latter has a non-state subject of international law observer status in the Committee of Ministers. Belarus has been a candidate country since 1993. The admission of Kosovo will only be considered once its status has been clarified under international law. Until then, Kosovo has been granted observer status since April 2013 by two representatives of the Kosovar parliament, who can take part in the debates of the plenary sessions and in the work of the committees without voting rights.
After the controversial vote on the membership of Crimea in Russia , the Council of Europe provisionally withdrew the 18 Russian MPs from voting in April 2014 with a majority of 145 votes, 21 against and 22 abstentions. In addition, Russia is excluded from the governing bodies of the assembly until further notice, whereupon the Russian MPs boycotted the meetings of the assembly and Russia also suspended payment of its membership fees from June 2017 until further notice.
Because the withdrawal of voting rights was not regulated in the statutes of the Council of Europe and after two years without contributions the final expulsion of Russia and an election of the next Secretary General of the organization without Russian members in the Parliamentary Assembly threatened, the Council of Ministers decided on May 17, 2019 on the initiative the Finnish Presidency to introduce a new multi-stage procedure for sanctions against members in order to pave the way for Russia's full membership again.
The Council of Europe is a forum for debates on general European issues. In its framework, intergovernmental, binding international agreements ( Council of Europe conventions , such as the European Convention on Human Rights ) are concluded with the aim of preserving the common heritage and promoting economic and social progress.
Since 1993 the Council of Europe has devoted itself more and more to safeguarding democratic security . These include in particular:
- the commitment to human rights
- securing democratic principles as well
- fundamental principles of the rule of law
- Combating terrorism with the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on Combating Terrorism
- Promoting economic and social progress
- Promotion of cultural cooperation (e.g. by setting the legal framework for the recognition of university studies and diplomas, the legal protection of cultural minorities and the creation of political guidelines for intercultural dialogue ) - an area in which the EU has no competencies of its own and should therefore cooperate with the Council of Europe in accordance with Articles 165 (3) and 167 (3) of the FEU Treaty ( Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ).
- Promotion of the environment and nature protection in Europe, u. a. Implementation of the European Year of Nature Conservation .
Organizationally, the Council of Europe largely follows the usual structural pattern of international organizations, but with the notable addition of a parliamentary body.
Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly
According to Art. 10 of the Statute of the Council of Europe (EuRatS) the two statutory organs of the Council of Europe are:
- the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in which the member states are represented by their foreign ministers or their permanent representatives in the rank of ambassador, and
- the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , to which the parliaments of the member states send representatives.
In the Committee of Ministers there is a Council of Ministers in which each member state of the Council of Europe is represented by its incumbent foreign minister in accordance with Art. 14 EuRatS. The Holy See, Japan, Mexico, and the United States have observer status. Each foreign minister has a permanent representative in Strasbourg. The Committee of Ministers meets once a year for a plenary session, the so-called Ministerial Conference ; the permanent representatives (also called delegates of the Committee of Ministers) meet for plenary meetings held at least once a week. They are supported in their work by diplomats who report to them.
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly from January 2016 was Pedro Agramunt . In April 2017, the Bureau withdrew his confidence and no longer allowed him to travel, comment, or represent the congregation on behalf of the congregation. As a result, the post was effectively vacant. However, it was only possible to deselect it through a rule change. A few days before the scheduled vote, Agramunt announced his resignation on October 6, 2017, and his deputy, Roger Gale , became the executive successor .
The Council of Europe is politically represented by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly.
Conference of international non-governmental organizations
In 1952 the Council of Europe granted international non-governmental organizations ( INGO ) advisory status in order to “intensify the active participation of all citizens in the conduct of public affairs.” In November 2003 INGOs were granted participant status. They take their decisions at the conference of non-governmental organizations in the Council of Europe ( conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe ) and take an active part in the decision-making process of the Council of Europe and the introduction of its programs.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities forms the third pillar of the Council of Europe alongside the parliamentary assembly and the Committee of Ministers and is an advisory body.
The Council of Europe has established the position of Commissioner for Human Rights. This is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly and prepares reports on relevant topics or the human rights situation in individual countries.
An important part of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights , which monitors compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights . Almost half of the Council of Europe's Secretariat works for the Court of Justice in Strasbourg.
There are also a number of partial agreements of the Council of Europe, which include the European Pharmacopeia , the partial agreement in sport, the Eurimages film funding agency , the European Center for Modern Languages in Graz and the North-South Center in Lisbon.
The youth department in the Directorate for Democratic Participation of the Council of Europe has European youth centers , a European youth agency and a co-management system. This co-management system enables youth representatives from European youth organizations to directly and equally participate in decisions of the member states of the Council of Europe in the field of youth.
General Secretaries of the Council of Europe
The bodies of the Council of Europe are supported by a permanent secretariat headed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. This is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for five years. On September 18, 2019, the Croatian Marija Pejčinović Burić took over this position. The Italian Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni has been Deputy General Secretary since 2012 .
|Jacques Camille Paris||1902-1953||1949-1953||France|
|Peter Smithers||1913-2006||1964-1969||United Kingdom|
|Marcelino Oreja Aguirre||* 1935||1984-1989||Spain|
|Catherine Lalumière||* 1935||1989-1994||France|
|Daniel Tarschys||* 1943||1994-1999||Sweden|
|Walter Schwimmer||* 1942||1999-2004||Austria|
|Terry Davis||* 1938||2004-2009||United Kingdom|
|Thorbjørn Jagland||* 1950||2009-2019||Norway|
|Marija Pejčinović Burić||* 1963||2019–||Croatia|
|Founding members of the Council of Europe in 1949|
|Further members of the Council of Europe (by year of accession)|
|1965||Malta||Slovenia||2002||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|1976||Portugal||Czech Republic ²|
|¹ suspended from 1967 to 1974
² membership of Czechoslovakia from 1991 was not transferred to the successor states
³ as the successor to Serbia and Montenegro
|Candidate countries||Observer status in the
|Observer status in the Committee of Ministers|
Special case: Belarus
The Council of Europe's criticism is directed against, among other things, undemocratic elections, the death penalty and, in particular, the death sentences of Eduard Lykow (probably executed at the end of 2014) and Alexander Grunow . In a referendum held in Belarus in 1996, however, over 80 percent of the Belarusians who voted were in favor of the use of the death penalty.
The government of Belarus intends to grant special guest status. The opposition advocates membership of the country, which would give Belarusian civil society access to an independent legal system (European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights).
Council of Europe Agreement
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) of 1950 is the most important multilateral treaty within the Council of Europe; there are also 14 protocols to the ECHR to date. Overall, the Council of Europe has turned to "individual concrete measures in which the ECs / EU do not develop any activities".
The more than 170 Council of Europe agreements include:
- European Welfare Agreement of 1953
- European cultural agreement of 1954
- European settlement agreement from 1955
- European Convention for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes 1957
- European Social Charter from 1961
- 1963 Convention on the Unification of Certain Terms of the Substantive Law of Patents for Invention
- European social security order from 1964
- European Convention on State Immunity, 1972
- 1981 Data Protection Convention
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (European Convention against Torture) of 1987
- European Anti-Doping Convention of 1989
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages 1992
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1995
- Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Human Dignity with a View to the Application of Biology and Medicine of 1997, with 4 additional protocols
- European Convention on Citizenship 1997
- Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 2005
- Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention), October 27, 2005
Need for reform
The Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland , who was active from 2009 to 2019 , announced a reform of the Council of Europe. In 2010, the organization should aim to “focus on its core tasks of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”. Obviously it is difficult to make any headway because the same letters of intent are repeated year after year. Eight years later, the Federal Government's report on the activities of the Council of Europe in the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017 , said unchanged in terms of content and hardly changed in language: "Secretary General Jagland wants to continue his reform and consolidation course and focus more on the work on the content Align core tasks with human rights, the rule of law and the promotion of democracy. "
Criticism of the position of the Council of Europe
Human rights groups like Human Rights Watch accuse the Council of Europe that it is reluctant to name violations of human rights in member states, including Azerbaijan , and that it does not disclose election fraud in the same way as the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ( ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe .
In June 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to return the voting rights that had been withdrawn five years earlier to the Russian Federation. Otherwise, according to the statutes, Russia would have been excluded due to non-payment of contributions, which various other member states under the leadership of Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland wanted to prevent. To this end, according to observers in the Tagesspiegel , the council allowed itself to be “blackmailed” or, according to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung , gave in to the pressure of an “authoritarian state”. The Council made far-reaching concessions to Russia, such as excluding the Lithuanian Andrius Kubilius, who was unwelcome in Moscow, from running for General Secretary of the Council, working out high hurdles for sanctions against Russia and not demanding any assurance that Russia will refrain from provocation, politicians from the occupy Crimea to send to the council.
In April 2018, an independent expert commission made up of former judges came to the conclusion that there were strong indications of corruption among several active and former members of the Council of Europe. The people had apparently taken positions in favor of Azerbaijan in return for donations and tried to prevent or mitigate declarations of disregard for human rights in Azerbaijan. Several people were named, including the former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt , and the former MEPs Eduard Lintner and Karin Strenz ( Member of the Bundestag ).
The Council of Europe "is financed according to traditional international law through contributions from the member states according to their respective population (Art. 38 EuRatS) and the gross national product ". In 2018, the budget of the Council of Europe had a volume of 446.5 million euros. The German contribution in the 2019 budget year is EUR 36.9 million.
- List of Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- List of Austrian members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law , Committee of Legal Advisers on International Law
Funds, prizes and events:
- Council of Europe exhibition
- Eurimages , Film Aid Fund
- Film Prize of the Council of Europe (FACE Award)
Other international organizations:
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- Official website of the Council of Europe (German, English, French, Italian, Russian)
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- Complete list of Council of Europe Treaties
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