The Council of Europe - 800 million Europeans
Key dates

5 May 1949

Treaty of London, establishing the Council of Europe, signed by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

4 November 1950

Signature in Rome of the Council’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – the first international legal instrument safeguarding human rights.

19 December 1954

Signature of the European Cultural Convention, forming the framework for the Council’s work in education, culture, youth and sport.

16 April 1956

The Resettlement Fund (now the Council of Europe Development Bank) set up to help member states with socially oriented projects.

12 January 1957

The Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (now the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe) set up by the Council of Europe to bring together local and regional authority representatives.

18 September 1959

The European Court of Human Rights established by the Council in Strasbourg, under the European Convention on Human Rights to ensure observance of the obligations undertaken by contracting states.

18 October 1961

The Council’s European Social Charter signed in Turin as the economic and social counterpart of the European Convention on Human Rights.

1 June 1972

The Council’s first European Youth Centre is opened in Strasbourg (France).

27 March 1980

The Pompidou Group established by the Council as a multi-disciplinary forum for inter-ministerial co-operation against drug abuse and trafficking.

26 November 1987

Signature of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, drawn up by the Council of Europe.

8 June 1989

Special guest status introduced by the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly, to forge closer links with the parliaments of new member states moving towards democracy.

30 April 1990

The Council’s North-South Centre opened in Lisbon (Portugal).

10 May 1990

The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission“) established by the Council to deal with legal guarantees on democracy.

6 November 1990

Accession of the first State from the former Soviet Block: Hungary.

September 1991

Establishment of European Heritage Days, with European Union support.

8 and 9 October 1993

First Council of Europe summit of heads of state and government in Vienna (Austria) adopts a declaration confirming its pan-European vocation and setting new political priorities in protecting national minorities and combating all forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

17 January 1994

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) set up by the Council’s Committee of Ministers to replace the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe.

1 February 1995

Signature of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, drawn up by the Council of Europe.

15 December 1995

Opening of the Council’s second European Youth Centre in Budapest (Hungary).

28 February 1996

Russia joins the Council of Europe.

4 April 1997

Signature of the Council’s European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.

10 and 11 October 1997

Second Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Strasbourg (France).

12 January 1998

Signature of the Council’s Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, prohibiting the cloning of human beings.

1 November 1998

Single permanent European Court of Human Rights established in Strasbourg under Protocol No. 11 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

5 May 1999

50th Anniversary of the Council of Europe.

4 November 2000

50th Anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights.

25 January 2001

Armenia and Azerbaijan join the Council of Europe.

23 November 2001

Signature of the Convention on Cybercrime.

24 April 2002

Bosnia and Herzegovina joins the Council of Europe.

2 May 2002

Signature of Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of death penalty in all circumstances.

15 July 2002

Adoption of the “Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism”.

28 January 2003

Signature of the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrim, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems.

3 April 2003

Serbia joins the Council of Europe.

15 May 2003

Signature of the Protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

5 October 2004

Monaco joins the Council of Europe.

15 and 16 May 2005

Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Warsaw, Poland.

13 December 2005

50th Anniversary of the European Flag.

11 May 2007

Montenegro joins the Council of Europe.


A political organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe works to promote democracy and human rights continent-wide. It also develops common responses to social, cultural and legal challenges in its 47 member states.
2002 - The Council of Europe Information Office - Tbilisi.