Brief Facts

The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation.
It includes 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Official languages: English and French.

Headquarters: Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg, France, designed French architect Henry Bernard.

Budget: The Council of Europe is financed by member states. Contributions are based on population and wealth.

The European flag: twelve gold stars in a circle on a blue background, represents the union of Europe's peoples. The number of stars does not change, twelve symbolising perfection. Chosen as the Council of Europe's official emblem in 1955, the European flag was subsequently adopted by the European Community as well, in 1986. With the passage of time, it has come to symbolise Greater Europe.

History

Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is one of the oldest and the biggest European organisation, which unifies 47 member states and promotes the main principles of the Human Rights. During its 50 years' activity the organisation has deepened and spread its field of action throughout the whole continent. The global changes in the European History - collapse of the Soviet Union, fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the cold war - have defined an increased number of applications for the Council's membership and called for establishing a new priorities and an appropriate strategy.

After the end of the World War II, states were determined to ensure that such a tragedy would never happen again. Winston Churchill in his speech of 19 September 1946 in Zurich was the first to point out that there was a need for "a remedy which, as if by miracle, would transform the whole scene and in a few years make all Europe as free and happy as Switzerland is today. We must build a kind of United States of Europe".  more...

 

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