What is the Committee of Ministers (CM)?

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.

Who sits on the CM?


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of each Council of Europe member State.

Ministers' Deputies

In May 1951 the Committee of Ministers invited each member State to appoint a Permanent Representative who would be in constant touch with the organisation. All Permanent Representatives reside in Strasbourg. They are usually senior diplomats with Ambassadorial rank, occasionally chargés d'affaires.

In 1952 the Committee of Ministers decided that each Minister could appoint a Deputy. The Deputies have the same decision-making powers as the Ministers. A Deputy is usually also the Permanent Representative of the member State.

What does it do?

 The Committee of Ministers performs a triple role:

  • as the emanation of the governments which enables them to express on equal terms their national approaches to the problems confronting Europe's societies;
  • as the collective forum where European responses to these challenges are worked out;
  • as guardian, alongside the Parliamentary Assembly, of the values for which the Council of Europe exists.
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When Does It Meet?


The Committee of Ministers' 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 - should the circumstances call for it - a second one during the year.
The date and venue of the Ministerial Session is fixed by the Committee of Ministers.
Ministerial sessions are comprised of two parts: a formal session and informal discussions.

Ministers' Deputies

Once a week. These "Meetings of the Ministers' Deputies" are usually held in the Committee of Ministers' meeting room.

The Deputies also meet several times a week in subsidiary groups.

How Does It Operate?

The CM operates on several levels.

Meetings of the Ministers and their Deputies are governed by the Statute of the Council of Europe and rules of procedure.