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Council of Europe

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The Palace of Europe in Strasbourg
The Palace of Europe in Strasbourg

The Council of Europe is an international organisation of 46 member states in the European region. Membership is open to all European states which accept the principle of the rule of law and guarantee fundamental human rights and freedoms to their citizens.

One of the main successes of the Council was the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950, which serves as the basis for the European Court of Human Rights.

The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg on the Franco-German border. Originally meeting in Strasbourg's University Palace, it is now domiciled in the Palace of Europe on the outskirts of the city centre.

The Council of Europe is not to be confused with the Council of the European Union, nor with the European Council.



The Council of Europe was founded following a speech given by Winston Churchill at the University of Zurich on 19 September, 1946 (text of speech) calling for a "United States of Europe", similar to the United States of America, in the wake of the events of World War II.

The Council was officially founded on 5 May, 1949 by the Treaty of London.



The institutions of the Council of Europe are:


Main article: European symbols

European flag
European flag

The Council of Europe is responsible for the notable European flag with 12 golden stars (upward pointing) arranged in a circle on a blue background since 1955, and the anthem based on the Ode to Joy in the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven'1972" title ="1972">1972. In 1964, it established the anniversary of its founding on 5 May 1949 as Europe Day.


Today, there are 46 member states (nearly all of the european states. Map [1]). Upon foundation on May 5, 1949 there were ten members:

Members with later admission dates (sorted by date of admission) :

The Parliament of Belarus held special guest status with the Parliamentary Assembly from September 1992 to January 1997, but this has been suspended as a consequence of the November 1996 undemocratic constitutional referendum and parliament by-elections and limits on democratic freedoms (e.g. freedom of expression cf. Belarusian media) under the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko. The constitution changed by the referendum "does not respect minimum democratic standards and violates the principles of separation of powers and the rule of law." [2]. Belarus applied for full membership on 12 March 1993 (still open).

Kazakhstan applied for observer status at the Parliamentary Assembly in 1999. The official responce of PACE was that Kazakhstan can apply for full membership, becouse it is located paritlialy in Europe, but anyway they shall not get any status at CoE until their democracy and human rights records are not improved.

The Vatican City has observer status at the Committee of Ministers since 1970.

Some non-European states also have observer status at Council of Europe institutions:

Japan and the USA have observer status at the Committee of Ministers.
Israel has observer status at the Parliamentary Assembly.
Canada and Mexico have observer status at both the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.

See also

External links

cs:Rada Evropy de:Europarat el:Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης eo:Konsilio de Eŭropo fr:Conseil de l'Europe is:Evrópuráðið it:Consiglio d'Europa ja:欧州評議会 nl:Raad van Europa sl:Svet Evrope fi:Euroopan neuvosto sv:Europarådet uk:Рада Європи

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