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|
|Secretary General||Marija Pejčinović Burić|
|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 Council of Europe has the task of bringing 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 main competence of the Council of Europe is the protection of human rights , with the EU economic cooperation is in the foreground. The Council of Europe should not be confused with the EU institutions, the European Council (organ of 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. On May 5, 1949, it received its formal statute from Belgium , Denmark , France , Ireland , Italy , Luxembourg , the Netherlands , Norway , Sweden and the United Kingdom in the London Ten Powers 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 for membership since 1993. The admission of Kosovo will only be considered as soon as 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 to 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 organization's next secretary general without Russian members in the Parliamentary Assembly were 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 a renewed full membership of Russia.
The Council of Europe is a forum for debates on general European issues. In its framework, intergovernmental agreements that are binding under international law ( 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 maintaining democratic security . These include in particular:
- the commitment to human rights
- the safeguarding of 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 protection of the environment and nature in Europe, including 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 with 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 Presidium withdrew his confidence over allegations of corruption and no longer allowed him to travel, comment or represent the assembly on behalf of the assembly. 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 managing director .
The Council of Europe is politically represented by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly.
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
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.
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.
Conference of international non-governmental organizations
In 1952, the euro Europe international NGOs granted (English international non-governmental organizations , INGOs ) consultative status to "intensify the active participation of all citizens in the conduct of public affairs." In November 2003, received international non-governmental participant status. They make 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 allows youth representatives from European youth organizations direct and equal participation in decisions of the Council of Europe in the youth field.
General Secretaries of the Council of Europe
The organs 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 office. The Italian Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni has been Deputy Secretary General 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|
|Other members of the Council of Europe (by year of accession)|
|1965||Malta||Slovenia||2002||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|1976||Portugal||Czech Republic ²||2003||Serbia ³|
|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 undemocratic elections, the death penalty and, in particular, against 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).
Special case: Russia
The poisoning and arrest of Navalny, as well as the mass arrests at demonstrations, are from the point of view of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe not national affairs for Russia , but have international legal dimensions that also affect the Council of Europe.
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 so far. Overall, the Council of Europe has turned to "individual, concrete measures in which the ECs / EU do not develop any activities".
The more than 223 Council of Europe agreements (as of March 2021) include, for example:
- 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 of 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
- Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
- Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
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 set itself the goal of “concentrating 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 terms of language: 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 such as 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 commission of experts made up of former judges came to the conclusion that there was strong evidence of corruption among several active and former members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The people apparently took 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 , Luca Volontè , Axel Fischer , and the former MPs Eduard Lintner (CSU) and Karin Strenz (CDU).
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 amounts to 36.9 million euros in the 2019 budget year.
- 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
- Cahdi , Committee of legal advisers on international law
Funds, prizes and events:
Other international organizations:
- Klaus Brummer : The Council of Europe. An introduction . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15710-8 .
- Horst Keller: Values instead of limits. The Council of Europe - pioneer and thought leader. NDV Neue Darmstädter Verlagsanstalt, Rheinbreitbach 1999, ISBN 3-87576-419-6 .
- Uwe Holtz (Ed.): 50 Years of the Council of Europe . (PDF; 1.2 MB) Nomos, Baden-Baden 2000, ISBN 3-7890-6423-8 .
- Frank Niess: The European Idea - From the Spirit of Resistance. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-518-12160-X .
- Birte Wassenberg: Histoire du Conseil de l'Europe (1949-2009). Peter Lang, Brussels 2012, ISBN 978-90-5201-896-6 .
- Stefanie Schmahl, Marten Breuer (eds.): The Council of Europe. Its Law and Policies. Oxford University Press, Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-967252-3 .
- Official website of the Council of Europe (German, English, French, Italian, Russian)
- The Statute of the Council of Europe - London, May 5, 1949
- Complete list of Council of Europe treaties
- Council of Europe: institution, bodies and agreements. In: humanrights.ch
- The legal structure of the Council of Europe and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly. (PDF) Europa-Institut (no year)
- Interactive graphic on the system of the Council of Europe in the online manual “Active against Discrimination!” Of the German Institute for Human Rights
- Example of concrete work by the Council of Europe
- Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: Alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states - Information Memorandum II (report by Dick Marty to the Council of Europe regarding the CIA secret prisons and kidnappings in Europe; see heise.de )
- The US has a secret network of imprisonments and prisoner transports, member states of the Council of Europe were involved - draft resolution of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe based on the report by Dick Marty
- Committee on legal Affairs and Human Rights: Mass surveilance (PDF) - Report on mass surveillance
- EU and Council of Europe
- 47 member states. In: Administration - Overview. Council of Europe, accessed on 21 March 2021 .
- Council of Europe - in brief ( Memento of July 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
- Council of Europe (ed.): Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union . May 23, 2007, CM (2007) 74 ( coe.int [accessed January 26, 2020]).
- Frank Niess: The European Idea - From the Spirit of Resistance. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2001, p. 230: “first European institution”.
- Thomas Brechenmacher, The Bonn Republic - Political System and Internal Development of the Federal Republic , be.bra Verlag, Berlin, Brandenburg, 2010, ISBN 978-3-89809-413-9 , p. 63
- Gérard de Puymège: Euro Europe. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . October 29, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2019 .
- Council of Europe opens a crack in the door to Kosovo ( Memento from December 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), ZEIT ONLINE, April 23, 2013, accessed on December 19, 2017
- Ukraine crisis: Council of Europe deprives Russia of voting rights. In: FAZ online , April 10, 2014, accessed on January 25, 2015.
- Russia stops payments to the Council of Europe , Spiegel Online , June 30, 2017, accessed on December 19, 2017
- FAZ.net May 17, 2019: Russia should remain in the Council of Europe
- Ministers. In: europewatchdog.info. Retrieved March 4, 2018 .
- Parliamentary assembly takes important personnel decision. In: Deutschlandfunk , April 28, 2017, accessed on April 28, 2017.
- Iamvi Totsi: The Conference of International Nongovernmental Organization Of The Council Of Europe. (PDF; 43 kB) History, Structures, Projects. In: Democracy »Non-Governmental Organizations. Council of Europe, accessed July 23, 2014 .
- The Council of Europe and Non-Governmental Organizations: Promoters of democracy and active citizenship in Europe. Council of Europe, accessed July 23, 2014 .
- Co-management. Council of Europe, accessed April 26, 2020 .
- Marija Pejčinović Burić is the new Secretary General of the Council of Europe. In: coe.int. Retrieved November 12, 2019 (German).
- Deputy Secretary General. In: coe.int. Retrieved November 12, 2019 .
- Human Rights and Democracy Report 2014 , Ed .: Austrian Red Cross (department ACCORD).
- Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the execution of Grigory Yuseptschuk in Belarus. Ed .: Council of Europe
- Council of Europe resumes dialogue with Belarus ; Ed .: www.cafebabel.de.
- German Bundestag, online services: Andreas Nick: Russia has to face difficult questions about Navalny. January 29, 2021, accessed April 1, 2021 .
- Oppermann, Classen, Nettesheim: European law. 4th edition. Munich 1999, p. 26, Rn. 9
- Complete list of the Council of Europe's treaties. Council of Europe, March 21, 2021, accessed March 21, 2021 .
- Federal Law Gazette 1956 II p. 564
- European Cultural Agreement - full text ( Wikisource )
- Federal Law Gazette 1959 II p. 997
- Federal Law Gazette 1961 II p. 81
- Federal Law Gazette 1964 II p. 1261
- Federal Law Gazette 1976 II pp. 649, 658
- Federal Law Gazette 1970 II p. 909
- Federal Law Gazette 1990 II p. 34
- Federal Law Gazette 1985 II p. 539
- Federal Law Gazette 1989 II p. 946
- Federal Law Gazette 1994 II p. 335
- Federal Law Gazette 1998 II p. 1314
- Federal Law Gazette 1997 II p. 1048
- ILM 36 , p. 817
- ILM 37  p. 44
- Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Council of Europe Treaty Series - No. 197, Warsaw, May 16, 2005
- Federal Law Gazette 2017 II pp. 1026, 1027
- Report of the Federal Government on the activities of the Council of Europe in the period from July 1 to December 31, 2009 , information from the Federal Government, printed matter 17/1496, German Bundestag, 17th electoral period April 21, 2010, p. 2, right column (PDF )
- Report of the Federal Government on the activities of the Council of Europe in the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017 (= Bundestag printed paper 19/1794) of April 16, 2018, p. 4.
- Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe . In: The Economist , March 22, 2013, accessed January 3, 2019.
- Claudia von Salzen: "No occasion to celebrate" ; Tagesspiegel from May 4, 2019.
- Werner J. Marti: "The Council of Europe kisses before Russia" ; Neue Zürcher Zeitung from June 25, 2019.
- Experts see “strong suspicion” of corruption in the Council of Europe , Süddeutsche Zeitung of April 23, 2018.
- Report of the Independent Investigation Body on the allegations of corruption within the Parliamentary Assembly , April 15, 2018, pp. 72, 90–91, 129, 146 and others, accessed on January 3, 2019.
- Oppermann, Classen, Nettesheim: European law. 4th edition. 1999, p. 24, para. 6
- Budget , accessed on January 3, 2019. The information that the total budget amounts to in 2018 contradicts the information on the same website of the Council of Europe that the total budget in 2018 amounts to 406.7 million euros.
- Program et budget 2018-2019 du Conseil de l'Europe - 2019 ajusté , December 18, 2018, Table 2: Contributions nationales aux budgets du Conseil de l'Europe pour 2019 (en €) , after p. 183.