The Committee of Ministers at ministerial level
Read more about the Committee of Ministers at ministerial level
The Committee of Ministers (CM) is the Council of Europe's decision-making body.
Its timetable is based on the holding of one annual ordinary ministerial session around the symbolic date of 5 May, leaving open the possibility of holding a second one during the year.
For more information, see About the CM
2019 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland - 16‑17 May 2019
The Committee of Ministers met for its 129th Session in Helsinki (Finland) on 16 and 17 May 2019.
The Prime Minister of Finland, Mr Juha Sipilä, opened the Session, which was chaired by Mr Timo Soini, Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Committee of Ministers.
The Session was an opportunity for the Committee of Ministers to adopt a Declaration marking the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe and reaffirming the importance of the Organisation as a unique Pan-European platform for dialogue and co-operation. It also enabled the Committee to adopt important decisions for the future of the Organisation with a view to ensuring respect for rights and obligations, principles, standards and values of the Council of Europe.
The Committee of Ministers decided on measures to strengthen the protection and promotion of the space reserved for civil society in Europe. It further instructed its Deputies to give appropriate follow-up to the proposals contained in the Secretary General's report "Meeting the challenges ahead - Strengthening the Council of Europe" and called for strengthening the Council of Europe’s achievements by addressing some of the major challenges (artificial intelligence, human trafficking, freedom of expression, inequality and discrimination, migration, social rights, combating violence against women and domestic violence), setting strategic objectives to meet the challenges ahead, at ensuring the sustainability of the Organisation and to continue the ongoing reforms structural and administrative issues.
The Ministers held two informal working sessions respectively entitled “Current challenges to the future of the Council of Europe” and “Fighting inequalities and protecting social rights in Europe”.
Finally, the Committee of Ministers examined questions on measures to secure the long-term effectiveness of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe's policy towards neighbouring regions and co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
All the decisions taken by the Committee of Ministers are available in document CM/PV(2019)129-add.
At the end of the Session, the outgoing Chairman, Mr Timo Soini, took stock of his country’s Presidency. Ms Amélie de Montchalin, France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, then outlined the priorities of the incoming French Presidency. (More information ....)
2018 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Marienlyst Conference Centre, Elsinore, Denmark - 17-18 May 2018
The Committee of Ministers met for its 128th Session in Elsinore (Denmark), on 17 and 18 May 2018.
The Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, opened the Session, which was chaired by Anders Samuelsen, the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Committee of Ministers.
The Committee adopted an amending Protocol which updates the Council of Europe's data protection convention, known as “Convention 108”. The modernisation of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, the only existing legally binding international treaty with global relevance in this field, addresses the challenges to privacy resulting from the use of new information and communication technologies, and strengthens the convention’s mechanism to ensure its effective implementation. (More information ...)
Other items on the agenda of the Session included:
- The Secretary General’s 2018 report on the State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: “Role of institutions, threats to institutions”;
- The future of the Council of Europe (see the Summing-up of the informal dinner debate by the Chair);
- Conflicts and crises in Europe;
- Securing the long-term effectiveness of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
At the end of the Session, the outgoing Chair, Anders Samuelsen, handed over to the new Chair of the Committee of Ministers, Marija Pejčinović Burić , Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, who presented the priorities of her country’s chairmanship.
2017 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Filoxenia Conference Centre, Nicosia, Cyprus - 19 May 2017
Foreign Affairs Ministers from the Council of Europe’s 47 member states met in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 19 May 2017 for their 127th Session. The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, opened the session, which was chaired by Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister and Committee of Ministers Chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
The Council of Europe’s Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property was opened for signature and signed by six countries: Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Portugal, San Marino and Mexico. It is the only international treaty specifically dealing with the criminalisation of illicit trafficking of cultural property, such as the plundering of Palmyra in Syria by Daesch.
In addition, the Foreign Ministers adopted new guidelines to improve support, information and compensation for victims of terrorist attacks in all 47 member states. They provide for various measures to be taken by member states, including emergency assistance, medical, psychological and social help - all free of charge - and also information points for victims, access to justice and timely compensation.
Finally, the Committee of Ministers also adopted an Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe.
At the close of the session, Cyprus passed the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to the Czech Republic for the next six months. Outgoing Chair Ioannis Kasoulides presented the stocktaking of the Cypriot Chairmanship and Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, presented the priorities of his country’s incoming chairmanship.
2016 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Sofia Hotel Balkan, Sofia, Bulgaria - 18 May 2016
The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states met in Sofia on 18 May 2016 for their 126th Session.
The session was chaired by Daniel Mitov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers. Rossen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, addressed the session at its opening.
The Ministers adopted decisions on the following items:
- Democratic security for all in Europe in challenging times:
- Secretary General’s report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: a security imperative for Europe
- Tackling violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism
- Responding to the refugee crisis
- The key role of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in conflict resolution
- Securing the long-term effectiveness of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions
- Cooperation with the European Union
At the close of the session, Bulgaria passed the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to Estonia for the next six months. Outgoing Chairperson Daniel Mitov presented the stocktaking of Bulgaria’s chairmanship and Marina Kaljurand, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, presented the priorities of her country’s incoming chairmanship.
2015 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Egmont Palace, Brussels, Belgium - 19 May 2015
The 125th session of the Committee of Ministers brought together, on 19 May 2015 in Brussels, Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
The Ministers adopted the first set of legally-binding international standards to help tackle so-called "foreign terrorist fighters". The measures take the form of an additional protocol to the Council of Europe's convention on the prevention of terrorism, which has so far been signed by 44 of the organisation's 47 member states. The protocol will require countries to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information.
Participants at the meeting also adopted a political declaration and a three-year action plan on the fight against violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism. The action plan sets out a series of Council of Europe-led measures to help tackle radicalisation, including in schools, prisons and on the internet.
On this occasion, the outgoing and incoming Chairs of the Committee of Ministers, together with the Secretary General, signed a joint statement on the fight against terrorism.
At the close of the session, Belgium passed the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the next six months. Outgoing Chairperson Didier Reynders presented the stocktaking of Belgium’s chairmanship and Igor Crnadak, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, presented the priorities of his country’s chairmanship.
2014 Session of the Committee of Ministers
Hofburg palace, Vienna, Austria - 5-6 May 2014
The 124th Session of the Committee of Ministers was held in Vienna on 5-6 May 2014, at the Hofburg palace. The meeting was chaired by Sebastian Kurz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers.
Following the morning sitting, an informal working session was dedicated to the situation in Ukraine. At the end of the session, Sebastian Kurz presented the Conclusions of the Chairman. The stocktaking of Austria’s chairmanship over the past six months and the priorities of the Azerbaijani Chairmanship, which started on 14 May, were also made available.