The Council of Europe (CoE) was founded in March 1949, its headquarters are in Strasbourg, France. It is the first European political organisation that still has a significant impact on the European integration process. The CoE’s work is based on the collaboration in strengthening of the democracy, human rights and the rule of law, fostering of the European cultural identity and diversity, solving various social issues.
One of the principal achievements of the CoE is the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which identified key human rights standards and established the European Court of Human Rights, popularly referred to as the Strasbourg Court.
Almost all European states are parties to the CoE. As of today, CoE has 47 member states.
For more information: Council of Europe.
Main CoE institutions:
- Committee of Ministers
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
- Conference of INGOs
- Commissioner for Human Rights
- European Court of Human Rights
- Council of Europe Development Bank
Lithuania and the Council of Europe
Lithuania became a member of the CoE on 14 March 1993.
Lithuania’s commitments to the CoE
Lithuania is a party to more than 90 CoE conventions, which identifies common standards for all CoE countries in the areas of human rights, justice, education, social and health care and others, among them:
- Statute of the Council of Europe,
- Convention of the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
- European Cultural Convention,
- European Social Charter (revised),
- European Charter of Local Self-Government,
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,
- Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings,
- Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention),
- Convention on Cybercrime,
- European Convention on Extradition,
- European convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters,
- European Convention on the Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters,
- Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (8 November 1990),
- Civil Law Convention on Corruption,
- Criminal Law Convention on Corruption,
- European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism,
- Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region,
- European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas leading to Admission to Universities,
- European Convention on Transfrontier Television,
- Convention on the Elaboration of European Pharmacopoeia.
Lithuanian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE
Lithuania chaired the Committee of the Ministers of the CoE from November 2001 until May 2002 (next Lithuanian chairmanship will be in May – November 2024). During this time Lithuania was further seeking to promote stability and unity in Europe on the basis of common values of pluralistic democracy, human rights and the rule of law:
- to give its utmost priority to the strengthening of fight against terrorism, including the promotion of the inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue,
- to give a better use for regional collaboration and frontier potential in Europe,
- to improve cooperation among CoE institutions, among CoE and observer states, among CoE and other international organizations, including the Council of the Baltic Sea States,
- to promote de jure abolition of the death penalty in Europe,
- to increase the efficiency of the European Convention on Human Rights implementation mechanism,
- to support the implementation of assumed commitments by the CoE member states, the harmonization of their legal systems, the support of CoE standards in states candidates, especially paying close attention to Balkans and Caucasus regions,
- to increase attention for crime prevention, especially for emerging forms of crime,
- to propagate the European Cultural Convention,
- to promote the ratification of the fundamental CoE conventions,
- to contribute to the consolidation of European police standards,
- to support European Committee for Social Cohesion in its activities,
- to promote the acceptance of European diversity and identity, especially paying close attention to education, including the teaching of history, the European Cultural Route, the value of less common and well-known European languages.
Under the chairmanship of Lithuania of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE:
- the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the 44th member state of the CoE was welcomed and a procedure of its monitoring was set up,
- the progress made by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) towards accession to the CoE was assessed,
- a continued support for the CoE’s work in restoring the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation) was expressed,
- the UN General Assembly resolution (6 December 2011) on relations with the CoE was adopted,
- Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights on abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances was opened for signature,
- the Vilnius Declaration on regional cooperation and the consolidation of democratic stability in Greater Europe was adopted,
- the Convention on Contact concerning Children was adopted,
- the revised statute of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission) was adopted,
- the Group States against Corruption (GRECO) to continue operating on permanent basis as one of the CoE monitoring institutions was authorized,
- a conference on the role and functions of mediators in democratic countries was held,
- a meeting of heads of offices for national minorities was held,
- a multilateral high-level meeting on European norms and standards with regards to police ethics was held,
- a regional conference on transfrontier cooperation in the context of EU enlargement was held,
- a high-level conference on access to an effective public health care system was held,
- a colloquy on European identity was held.
For more information: Permanent representation of Lithuania to the Council of Europe.