Europe's Democratic Conscience

The parliamentarians who make up PACE come from the national parliaments of the Organisation's 47 member states. They meet four times a year to discuss topical issues and ask European governments to take initiatives and report back. These parliamentarians speak for the 800 million Europeans who elected them. They broach the issues of their choice, and the governments of European countries – which are represented at the Council of Europe by the Committee of Ministers – are obliged to respond. They are Greater Europe's democratic conscience.

A Melting Pot of Ideas

Since 1949, PACE, which is sometimes said to be the driving force of the Council of Europe, has been behind many of the Organisation's major initiatives (the European Convention on Human Rights, for instance). It must be consulted about all international treaties drawn up at the Council of Europe. It elects the judges of the European Court of Human Rights and the Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe and its own Secretary General.

Concrete Results

The texts adopted by PACE – recommendations, resolutions and opinions – serve as guidelines for the Committee of Ministers, national governments, parliaments and political parties. Eventually, through legislation and practice, these texts influence and improve Europeans' lives.

Documents

The Assembly can adopt three different types of texts: recommendations, resolutions and opinions.

  • Recommendations contain proposals addressed to the Committee of Ministers, the implementation of which is within the competence of governments.
  • Resolutions embody decisions by the Assembly on questions, which it is empowered to put into effect, or expressions of view, for which it alone is responsible.
  • Opinions are expressed by the Assembly on questions put to it by the Committee of Ministers, such as the admission of new member States to the Council of Europe, draft conventions, or the budget of the Organisation.

The idea of a united Europe, and of the establishment of some body representatives of Europe as a whole and competent to speak, perhaps to act, on its behalf, was commonly advanced at least as early as the XIXth century. Only in the XXth century, however, has that idea taken concrete form - and then not until the First world War had demonstrated its necessity. In the main the proponents of what is now customarily called the "European idea" have fallen into two groups, the first advocating co-operation and co-ordination of policies between European States without demanding of the latter formal surrenders of sovereignty, the second urging a Federation of Europe.

Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe regularly adopts reports on the monitoring of Georgia's obligations and commitments as a member state. Georgia is represented in the Parliamentary Assembly by a delegation of 5 representatives and 5 substitutes.

Did you know?
The Council of Europe is a separate organisation from the 28-member EU. No country has joined the EU without first joining the Council of Europe.

On which day of the year is the Council of Europe's anniversary celebrated?

  1. 1st May
  2. 8 March
  3. 5 May
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