The Council of Europe and Non-Governmental Organisations: Promoters of democracy and active citizenship in Europe

The Council of Europe’s work benefits extensively from contacts and co-operation with the dynamic elements of society, as represented by NGOs. One of the main challenges currently facing the Organisation is to strengthen NGOs and civil society and to develop participatory democracy on a pan-European basis.

The Council of Europe’s relations with NGOs focus on the following:

I. Relations with international NGOs (INGOs): this can seen as the Council of Europe’s statutory relations with NGOs. INGOs holding participatory status, known collectively as the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, actively contribute to the decision-making process at the Council of Europe and to the implementation of its programmes, thus ensuring their relevance to the expectations of Europeans.

II Civil society programmes with partner NGOs: civil society co-operation programmes aim at strengthening the role of civil society in a pluralist democracy, in particular promoting public participation in decision making.