For the past two and a half years, Mrs Battaini-Dragoni has served as the Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General. She is the first person to have held the post under its revised mandate, which gives the role a strong operational remit. As such she has been responsible for implementing the concrete, day-to-day measures needed to support the Secretary General’s far-reaching reform agenda, in line with the decisions and priorities of the Committee of Ministers.
With the aim of creating a Council of Europe that is more streamlined, focused on clearer priorities and which guarantees its member States better value for money, Mrs Battaini-Dragoni has worked hard to set the Programme and Budget on a rigorous and sustainable path. She has also introduced new checks to ensure that all spending is properly scrutinised and has successfully overseen reform of the contractual policy for staff to enable greater flexibility.
Before being elected Mrs Battaini-Dragoni held a number of positions within the Organisation. In each of these she has embraced innovation with one clear goal in mind: the strengthening of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
In 2011, at the request of the Secretary General, Mrs Battaini-Dragoni was asked to set up the Directorate General of Programmes (ODG-PROG) – a major step in the internal reform of the Organisation. This enabled her to give a new strategic orientation to the intergovernmental activities, to implement the new policy of decentralisation to the field and to develop a dynamic overall extra-budgetary resource mobilisation.
Between 2004-2011, as Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, Mrs Battaini-Dragoni took the Council of Europe’s work into new terrain by introducing programmes on democratic citizenship and human rights to schools, youth projects and other cultural spaces.
In the same period she served as the Council of Europe’s Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue, where she oversaw the delivery of the “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” – the first document of its kind at international level. The White Paper advocated the development of intercultural skills through formal and non-formal education and was launched at Ministerial level in 2008. It has been translated into sixteen languages, including Arabic and Hebrew, and its insights continue to inform the Council of Europe’s work, not least in response to the current problems of radicalisation and violent extremism.
As the Director General of Social Cohesion between 2001-2004, Mrs Battaini-Dragoni was able to reorient the Organisation’s work to place greater emphasis on social rights as a basis for inclusive and well-functioning societies. Publishing widely on this and related issues, she has been successful in promoting the efforts and achievements of the Organisation.
Mrs Battaini-Dragoni was also the first ever female Director General in the Council of Europe.