The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe’s statutory decision-making body. It is made up of the ministers of foreign affairs from each member state. It meets at ministerial level once a year and at ministers’ deputies level (permanent representatives) approximately 30-35 times a year. The deputies are assisted by a bureau, rapporteur groups, thematic co-ordinators and ad hoc working parties. Its role and functions and the conduct of meetings is governed by the statute and rules of procedure. The Committee of Ministers‘ work includes supervising how member states execute judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Each year, the president of the Conference of INGOs takes part in an exchange of views with the ministers’ deputies and is also invited to various meetings, including the ministerial sessions. The president sometimes attends meetings of rapporteur groups to speak about activities or give input to a Committee of Ministers debate. Representatives of NGOs have been invited to participate in thematic debates organised by the ministers’ deputies.

Following decisions taken at the 2019 Committee of Ministers meeting in Helsinki, three rapporteur groups covering issues relating to human rights, democracy and legal co-operation organised a regular informal exchanges of views with civil society on a specific topic.