The Council of Europe’s official shipments to member States of the Council of Europe which are non-European Union member states[1] are accompanied by a Diplomatic letter of authority, recalling Article 4 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe, which states that: "The […] property and assets [of the Council], wheresoever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of interference whether by administrative, judicial or legislative action." As well as Article 7 which sets out that: "The Council, its assets, income and other property shall be exempt […] (b) from all customs duties and prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports in respect of articles required by the Council for its official use […] (c) from all customs duties, and prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports in respect of its publications."

The purpose of this diplomatic letter of authority is to replace all other commercial or customs documents and it should be recognised unreservedly. Any hindrance of the official shipments of the Council of Europe prevents the normal functioning of the Organisation and incurs extra costs.

The member States of the Council of Europe have all ratified the above-mentioned Agreement and are required to ensure that their competent national authorities facilitate the arrival of such shipments at destination to allow the good functioning of the Organisation

[1] Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

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