Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It comprises the Foreign Affairs Ministers of all the member states, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg. It is both a governmental body, where national approaches to problems facing European society can be discussed on an equal footing, and a collective forum, where Europe-wide responses to such challenges are formulated. In collaboration with the Parliamentary Assembly, it is the guardian of the Council's fundamental values, and monitors member states' compliance with their undertakings.
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe member states seat on the Committee of Ministers. The Ministers meet twice every year (in May and in November) to review European cooperation and matters of political concern.
Each member state appoints a Permanent Representative, usually a diplomat with Ambassadorial rank and occasionally charge d'affaires, who resides in Strasbourg and is in constant touch with the Organisation.
Each Minister can appoint a Deputy, who has the same decision-making powers as the Ministers. Deputies, who are usually also the Permanent Representative of the member state, conduct most of the day-to-day activities of the Committee of Ministers during their weekly meetings. They hold separate meetings for human rights and monitoring of commitments.
The Committee of Ministers acts as:
- the emanation of the governments which enables them to express on equal terms their national approaches to the problems confronting Europe's societies;
- the collective forum where European responses to these challenges are worked out;
- guardian, alongside the Parliamentary Assembly, of the values for which the Council of Europe exists.