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The Council of Europe

In: Social Issues

Submitted By oasemota1
Words 2371
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Nicholas Asemota

Name of organization: The Council of Europe
Year founded:5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London.
Original Members: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Original objectives: In 1945, at the end of the second World War, Europe was marked by unprecedented devastation and human suffering. It faced new political challenges, in particular reconciliation among the peoples of Europe. This situation favored the long held idea of European integration through the creation of common institutions. In his famous speech at the University of Zurich on 19 September 1946, Sir Winston Churchill called for a United States of Europe and the creation of a Council of Europe. He had spoken of a Council of Europe as early as 1943 in a broadcast to the nation. The future structure of the Council of Europe was discussed at a specific congress of several hundred leading politicians, government representatives and civil society in The Hague, Netherlands in 1948. There were two schools of thought competing: some favored a classical international organization with representatives of governments, while others preferred a political forum with parliamentarians. Both approaches were finally combined through the creation of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly under the Statute of the Council of Europe..This vision also led to the creation of the motto and the underlying objective of the Council of Europe which is to promote greater unity within Europe and to safeguard its political and cultural heritage by promoting human rights and democracy.

Original organizational structure and decision rules: The original structure of the Council of Europe consisted of these institutions , which are the Committee of Ministers comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, the Parliamentary Assembly composed of MPs from the Parliament of each member state, and the Secretary General heading the secretariat of the Council of Europe.

Has the membership changed? Who, when, and why?: The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Greece and Turkey joined three months later, and Iceland and Germany the next year It now has 47 member states, with Montenegro being the latest to join. Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute specifies that membership is open to any "European" State. This has been interpreted liberally from the beginning (when Turkey was admitted) to include any Eurasian state with a toe-hold in Europe. The big breakthrough for expansion came as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of dictatorial Communist rule in Eastern Europe, most Eastern European nations joined the council, Following its declaration of independence on 3 June 2006, Montenegro submitted a request to accede to the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers transmitted the request to the Parliamentary Assembly for opinion, in accordance with the usual procedure. Eleven days later, on 14 June 2006, the Committee of Ministers declared that the Republic of Serbia would continue the membership of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. On 11 May 2007, Montenegro joined the Council of Europe as 47th member state. Only Belarus and Vatican City are not members.
Have the objectives changed? How, when, and why? Article 1(a) of the Statute states that "The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress." Therefore according to current objectives such as eliminating drug trafficking ,being a proponent of human rights for e.g. European Convention on Human Rights, which was adopted in 1950 following a report by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. The Convention created the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Court supervises compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and thus functions as the highest European court for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is to this court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that a member country has violated their fundamental rights. Their original objective and aim of the Council of Europe is being constantly being manifested such as the set up of programs that promote rights such as * The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture ,the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse . * The Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse * Social rights under the European Social Charter ,linguistic rights under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ,minority rights under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities * Media freedom under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention on Transfrontier Television * Protection of democracy through parliamentary scrutiny and election monitoring by its Parliamentary Assembly as well as assistance in democratic reforms, in particular by the Venice Commission.

* Promotion of cultural co-operation and diversity under the Council of Europe's Cultural Convention of 1954 and several conventions on the protection of cultural heritage as well as through its Centre for Modern Languages in Graz, Austria and its North-South Centre in Lisbon, Portugal.

* Promotion of the right to education under Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and several conventions on the recognition of university studies and diplomas (see also Bologna Process and Lisbon Recognition Convention).

* Promotion of fair sport through the Anti-Doping Convention[6] and the Convention against Spectator Violence.[7]
Promotion of European youth exchanges and co-operation through European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest, Hungary. * Promotion of the quality of medicines throughout Europe by the

* European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Pharmacopoeia.
The Council of Europe has organize and align themselves with other entities that has the same aims ,goals and objectives as them and in turn using that as to propel and enforce what they stand for to help them achieve their goals. Affiliations such as one with the (1). European Union which is based on the same values and pursue common aims with regard to the protection of democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. These common aims have led the Council of Europe and the European Union to develop a very tight network of relations and cooperation links (participation of the European Commission to meet Council of Europe activities, accession of European Union to Council of Europe Conventions, etc.). One significant instrument of this cooperation is the conclusion since 1993 of a number of joint programmes, for essentially cooperation with countries which have joined the Council of Europe since 1989. The same countries have developed increasingly close links with the European Union, or have applied for membership. By combining forces in this way, the complementarity of respective activities of the European Commission and the Council of Europe has been enhanced. In April 2001 an important step was taken through the signature by the European Commission and the Council of Europe of a Joint Declaration on Cooperation and Partnership, which, among other things, offers more systematic means of joint programming and priority-setting.They also have set up joint programmes with countries in their organization . They cover Albania (since 1993), Ukraine (since 1995), the Russian Federation (since 1996), Moldova (since 1997), Georgia (since 1999), Serbia, Montenegro, Armenia, and Azerbaijan (since 2001), Turkey (since 2001), Bosnia and Herzegovina (since 2003) and also the Republic of Macedonia. Other Joint Programmes, for instance for the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have also been implemented in the past. There have also been multilateral thematic joint programmes, open to Central and Eastern European countries, regarding, for instance, national minorities, the fight against organised crime and corruption, and the development of independent and multidisciplinary ethics committees for review of biomedical research. There have been other multilateral joint programmes, for awareness-raising on the abolition of the death penalty, the preparation of the European conference to fight against racism and intolerance, action to promote the European Social Charter and a programme to strengthen democracy and constitutional development in central and eastern Europe with the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. There is a "Council of Europe Project Office" in Ankara, Turkey since 2004 which implements joint projects of the Council of Europe and the European Union in co-operation with the Turkish government. This level of activity and wide range of implementations of programs and cooperation has given me the assumption that the objectives of the Council of Europe has not changed or shifted.
Has the organizational structure changed? How, when, and why?: As of now ,The institutions of the Council of Europe are: * The Secretary General, who is elected for a term of five years by the Parliamentary Assembly and heads the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. The current Secretary General is the former Prime Minister of Norway, Thorbjørn Jagland, who took office on 1 October 2009. * The Committee of Ministers, comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all 47 member states who are represented by their Permanent Representatives and Ambassadors accredited to the Council of Europe. Committee of Ministers' presidencies are held in alphabetical order for six months following the English alphabet: Switzerland 11/2009-05/2010, Macedonia (alphabetically sorted under "T" as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia") 05/2010-11/2010, Turkey 11/2010-05/2011, Ukraine 05/2011-11/2011 and the United Kingdom 11/2011 - 05/2012 etc. * The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which comprises national parliamentarians from all member states and elects its President for a year with the possibility of being re-elected for another year. In January 2010, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from Turkey was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly. National parliamentary delegations to the Assembly must reflect the political spectrum of their national parliament, i.e. comprise government and opposition parties. The Assembly appoints members as rapporteurs with the mandate to prepare parliamentary reports on specific subjects. The British MP Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe was reporter for the drafting of the European Convention on Human Rights. Dick Marty's reports on secret CIA detentions and rendition flights in Europe became quite famous in 2007. Other Assembly reporters were instrumental in, for example, the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, the political and human rights situation in Chechnya, disappeared persons in Belarus, freedom of expression in the media and many other subjects. * The Congress of the Council of Europe (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe), which was created in 1994 and comprises political representatives from local and regional authorities in all member states. The most influential instruments of the Council of Europe in this field are the European Charter of Local Self-Government of 1985 and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities of 1980. * The European Court of Human Rights, created under the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, is composed of a judge from each member state elected for a renewable term of six years by the Parliamentary Assembly and is headed by the elected President of the Court. Since 2007, Jean-Paul Costa from France is the President of the Court. Under the new Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the terms of office of judges shall be nine years but non-renewable. Ratification of Protocol No. 14 was delayed by Russia for a number of years, but won support to be passed in January 2010. * The Commissioner for Human Rights, who is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a non-renewable term of six years since the creation of this position in 1999. This position is held since 2006 by Thomas Hammarberg from Sweden. * The Conference of INGOs. NGOs (NGOs) can participate in the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe. Since the [Resolution (2003)8] adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 2003, they are given a “participatory status”. * Information Offices of the Council of Europe in many member states.
European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines.
The Council of Europe system also includes a number of semi-autonomous structures known as "Partial Agreements", some of which are also open to non-member states
Has the organization been successful in achieving its objectives? Be sure to define your measure of Success. Success I believe is not just based on now achievements but on long term plan .In the process of enforcing they have had disagreements with Countries within their entity such as Russia .The Council of Europe have garnered criticism such as: * disappearances and unlawful killings; * torture and ill-treatment of detainees; * arbitrary loss of liberty; * lack of access to a court; * lack of a fair trial within a reasonable time; * telephone tapping; * deportation and extradition; * discrimination against homosexuals; * freedom of the press; * rights of parents of children taken into care; * interference with property rights; * dissolution of political parties.
But I believe the restless nature and the proactive mentality which has been manifested through their constant development of programs ,the Council of Europe will continue to achieve their long term goals. I also believe it is a constant struggle because when one problem departs or diminishes there will be another one that will arise.

10. Why has the organization been successful/unsucsessful in achieving its objectives?

Differences in interests? The interests of the members are still congruent and unchanged.Although some countries had to resolve their issues before they are both accepted into the Council of Europe..

Differences in size?The expansion of new members have inadvertely aided in moving the organization towards its objective which is unity.For example above. For e.g. Armenia and Azerbaijan to come to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was also deemed as a positive enough step for membership in the Council.

Differences in level of development?The new 12 inducted members are less more develop and stable in all aspects because of years of imperialism and Soviet Control.While Steps and procedures are being taken to get those countries up to par, there is still a lot of work to be done.

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