The Structure of the Council of Europe

Secretary General

The Secretary General is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a five-year term as the head of the Organisation. She is responsible for the strategic planning and direction of the Council’s work programme and budget. She leads and represents the Organisation. In June 2019, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric (Croatia) was elected to the post of Secretary General.

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Committee of Ministers

This is the Council’s decision-making body and composed of the ministers of foreign affairs of each member state or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg. The Committee of Ministers decides on the policy of the Council of Europe and approves its budget and programme of activities.

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Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)

The Parliamentary Assembly consists of 324 members of parliament from the 47 member states. The Assembly elects the Secretary General, the Human Rights Commissioner and the judges to the European Court of Human Rights. It provides a democratic forum for debate and monitors elections. Its committees play an important role in examining current issues. Fourteen Members of the Hellenic Parliament, headed by MP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis, participate in the Parliamentary Assembly.

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Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states. Composed of two chambers – the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions – and three committees, it brings together 648 elected officials representing more than 200,000 local and regional authorities.

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Conference of INGOs

The Conference includes some 400 international Non Governmental Organisations (INGOs). It provides vital links between politicians and the public and brings the voice of civil society to the Council. The Council’s work benefits extensively from the INGOs’ expertise and their outreach to European citizens.

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