The Council of Europe founded in 1949, is continent’s oldest political organisation, with headquarters in Strasbourg, France, makes efforts to defend human rights, to develop continent-wide agreements to standardise member countries’ social and legal practices, to promote awareness of a European Identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. From 1989, Council of Europe made most efforts and results acting as a political anchor and human rights watchdog for Europe’s post-communist democracies, as well as assisting the countries of central and eastern Europe in carrying out and consolidating political, legal and constitutional reform in parallel with economic reform, providing know-how in areas such as human rights, local democracy, education, culture and the environment.
Council of Europe’s Objectives
The primary aim of the Council of Europe is to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These values are the foundations of a tolerant and civilised society and indispensable for European stability, economic growth and social cohesion. On the basis of these fundamental values, Council of Europe tries to find shared solutions to major problems such as terrorism, organised crime and corruption, cybercrime, bioethics and cloning, violence against children and women, and trafficking in human beings. Co-operation between all member states is the only way to solve the major problems facing society today. Council of Europe objectives are the protection of human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law, the promotion of awareness and the encouragement of the development of Europe’s cultural identity and diversity, to find common solutions to the challenges facing European society and to consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legislative and constitutional reform.
Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers is the Council’s decision-making body. Each country is being represented by its Minister of Foreign Affairs or by their diplomatic representative.
The CM is responsible for the agenda of the Council of Europe and approves its budget. In collaboration with the Parliamentary Assembly, it is the guardian of the Council’s fundamental values and monitors member states’ compliance with their undertakings.
The Committee of Ministers has a triple role:
- Is the emanation of the Governments which enables them to express on equal terms their national approaches to the Europeans’ problems,
- Performs as the collective forum where European responses to these challenges are worked out,
- Is the guardian of the values for which the Council of Europe exists.