The Council of Europe is an entirely separate body from the European Union. First meetings were held in Strasbourg's University Palace in 1949, but the Council of Europe soon moved into its own buildings. The European Commission for Democracy through Law - better known as the Venice Commission as it meets in Venice - is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters. Nearly all European states have acceded to the Council of Europe, with the exceptions of Belarus (human rights concerns including active use of the death penalty), Kazakhstan (human rights concerns), and the Vatican City (a theocracy), as well as some of the territories with limited recognition.  Arif Mammadov, former head of the Azerbaijan representation at the Council of Europe, has stated that Azerbaijan's delegation at the Council had 25 million dollars available to "bribe members of the delegations and PACE generally". Some very early speeches by individuals considered to be "founding figures" of the European institutions, even if they were not heads of state or government at the time, are also included (such as Sir Winston Churchill or Robert Schuman). European Union and the Council of Europe so as to ensure consistency between actions undertaken at Community level and those undertaken by the Council of Europe, in order to avoid duplication and to create the conditions which will permit Community action to benefit fully from the results obtained by the Council of Europe, in particular in the context of the European Youth Campaign against Racism, … Founded in the aftermath of the Second World War, the Council of Europe is Europe’s oldest political organisation. The idea behind the Council of Europe is that democratic country which respects the human rights and the rule of law can solve difficult conflicts without descending into a crisis or a war.  At the time of its launch, the archive comprised 263 speeches delivered over a 70-year period by some 216 Presidents, Prime Ministers, monarchs and religious leaders from 45 countries - though it continues to expand, as new speeches are added every few months.  The Palais de l'Europe (Palace of Europe) and the Art Nouveau Villa Schutzenberger (seat of the European Audiovisual Observatory) are in the Orangerie district, and the European Court of Human Rights, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and the Agora Building are in the Robertsau district. The European Council is the EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union. This is important also for security of Finland as a part of Europe. Created in August 1971 -... 11 January 2021 The payments stopped in 2014 when Volontè's bank reported them as suspicious transactions to the Milan prosecutor's office. There are also concerns about consistency in case law – the European Court of Justice (the EU's court in Luxembourg) is treating the Convention as part of the legal system of all EU member states in order to prevent conflict between its judgements and those of the European Court of Human Rights (the court in Strasbourg interpreting the Convention). The Council of Europe Information Point was opened in Minsk on June 8th, 2009 as a department of the Belarusian State University. Historical Background 1 The Council of Europe (COE) was the first European political organization founded with a view to achieving closer unity among its members (Regional Co-operation and Organization: European States).The idea of European unity had been propagated by philosophers and statesmen for several centuries. The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) supports the Council of Europe (CoE) member states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at the national level. In 2018 an archive of all speeches made to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by heads of state or government since the Council of Europe's creation in 1949 appeared online, the fruit of a two-year project entitled "Voices of Europe". There are European Youth Centres in Budapest, Hungary, and in Strasbourg. "Russia’s 2015 law on 'undesirable organizations' has been severely criticized by the … The Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, but it does have the power to enforce select international agreements reached by European states on various topics. Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute specifies that membership is open to any "European" State. The Council of Europe has offices in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine; information offices in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine; and a projects office in Turkey. 201). " Council of Europe conventions/treaties are also open for signature to non-member states, thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe. Protocol No. English and French are its two official languages.  Salaries and emoluments paid by the Council of Europe to its officials are tax-exempt on the basis of Article 18 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe.. This year we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Pompidou Group. In November 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution (A/Res/71/17) on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe whereby it acknowledged the contribution of Council of Europe to the protection and strengthening of human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, welcomed the ongoing co-operation in a variety of fields. Spain ratified the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs (CETS No. Building in the area started in 1949 with the predecessor of the Palais de l'Europe, the House of Europe (demolished in 1977), and came to a provisional end in 2007 with the opening of the New General Office Building, later named "Agora", in 2008. It is distinct from the EUROPEAN UNION.There were originally ten signatory states, including the UK.There are currently 46 member states. The Council of Europe drafted the European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations in 1986, which sets the legal basis for the existence and work of NGOs in Europe. Corruption report on Latvia, 15 December 2020 In a speech in 1929, French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand floated the idea of an organisation which would gather European nations together in a "federal union" to resolve common problems. Buy now! The Council of Europe works mainly through conventions.  The money was paid to Volontè in monthly instalments of 100,000 euros, starting in 2013, via four anonymous offshore companies. At the end of negotiations, the Council decides on the signature and conclusion of the agreement, based on a proposal from the Commission. 15 December 2020 The Council also adopts the final decision to conclude the agreement, once the Parliament has given its consent (required in areas subject to co-decision) and it has been ratified by all EU membe… * The Council of Europe is an international organization that is distinct from the European Union. 217). The Council of Europe (CoE), based in Strasbourg (France), now covers virtually the entire European continent, with its 47 member countries. The organization brings together 47 countries, including all of the 27 EU member states. However, several conventions have also been opened for signature to non-member states. It is to this court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that a member country has violated their fundamental rights and freedoms.  Greece joined three months later, and Iceland, Turkey and West Germany the next year. To avoid confusion with the European Union which subsequently adopted the same flag in the 1980s, as well as other European institutions, the Council of Europe often uses a modified version with a lower-case "e" surrounding the stars which are referred to as the "Council of Europe Logo". Non-member states also participate in several partial agreements, such as the Venice Commission, the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), the European Pharmacopoeia Commission and the North-South Centre. In his own words, he tried to "peer through the mists of the future to the end of the war”, and think about how to re-build and maintain peace on a shattered continent.  Both Human Rights Watch and the European Stability Initiative have called on the Council of Europe to undertake concrete actions to show that it is willing and able to return to its "original mission to protect and ensure human rights". 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