Council of Europe

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File:Council of Europe.jpg
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.

Contents

Founding

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.

Aims

Institutions

The institutions of the Council of Europe are:

Symbols

Main article: European symbols

File:Euflag.png
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's ninth symphony since 1972. In 1964, it established the anniversary of its founding on 5 May 1949 as Europe Day.

Membership

There are 46 member states today. Upon foundation on May 5, 1949 there were ten members:

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

The Vatican City holds special observer status.

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." [1]. Belarus applied for full membership on 12 March 1993 (still open).

The non-European states of Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico and the USA have observer status.

See also

External link

de:Europarat el:Συμβούλιο της Ευρώπης eo:Konsilio de Eŭropo fr:Conseil de l'Europe it:Consiglio d'Europa nl:Raad van Europa sl:Svet Evrope fi:Euroopan neuvosto [[sv:Europar�det]] uk:Рада Європи

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