Founding – History

Founding and Goals


The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 “to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress.”

Today, it has 47 members, while observer status has been granted to the Holy See, the USA, Japan, Canada and Mexico. Israel attends the proceedings of the CoE Parliamentary Assembly as observer.

The main goal of the Council of Europe is to uphold human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law in its member states.

The oldest European political organization, its mission is to draft and adopt rules and standards – and monitor compliance with these – based on the common values of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law.

The fundamental legal text wherein these values are enshrined is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which has been signed by the 47 members of the CoE.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) overseas the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in its member states.

To date, the Council of Europe has achieved the adoption of a large number of legally binding European Conventions, which serve as the foundation for reform and harmonization of member-state legislation on a number of issues, including human rights, prevention of torture, fighting organized crime, data protection and cultural cooperation.

It has also contributed to drafting policy guidelines on legal, health, educational, cultural, sports and other issues.

The Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg