Council of Europe
January 20, 2022
The Council of Europe is an international organization whose stated goal is to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, the council comprises 47 countries with a population of about 820 million, and operates with an annual budget of around 500 million euros. The European Union adopted the original European flag created by the Council of Europe in 1955 and the European anthem as well. No country joined the European Union without first belonging to the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is the official observer of the United Nations. The Council of Europe differs from the European Union in that it is not able to pass binding laws, but it has the power to implement selected international agreements reached by European countries on various topics. The European Court of Human Rights is the most well-known body of the Council of Europe that applies the European Convention on Human Rights. The two statutory bodies of the Council include the Committee of Ministers, which includes the foreign ministers of member states, and the Parliamentary Assembly, which is made up of members of their national parliaments. The Commission on Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe tasked with promoting awareness of and respect for human rights in member states. The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, and other key European Council bodies include the European Department of Medicines Quality and the European Audiovisual Observatory. The Council of Europe is located in Strasbourg, France, and English and French are the official languages. The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, and the Congress use German, Italian, and Russian in some of their work.