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Concept and original French text: Sophie Jeleff Editorial direction and design co-ordination:

Council of Europe Public Information Division Page layout: The Big Family

Illustrations: Frédérique Ligier-Cmolik Produced by the Council of Europe, Directorate of Communication: October 2010

View the map of member States:

Greater Europe from Iceland to Azerbaijan

So what is Greater Europe? Itʼs a vast area, stretching from Iceland in the north-west, to Azerbaijan, in the south-east. The Council of Europe represents this Greater European area.

47 member States

Founded on 5 May 1949 by 10 States (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden) and then joined by Greece and Turkey (August 1949), the Council of Europe now has 47 member countries, thanks to the accession of: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Iceland and Germany (1950), Austria (1956)

● ● ●

Poland (1991),

Bulgaria (1992),

Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, Romania (1993), Andorra (1994),

Latvia, Albania, Moldova, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine (1995),

Cyprus (1961),

Malta (1965),

Spain (1977),

San Marino (1988),

Switzerland (1963),

Portugal (1976),

Liechtenstein (1978),

the Russian Federation, Croatia (1996), Georgia (1999),

Armenia and Azerbaijan (2001), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2002), Serbia (2003),

Monaco (2004),

Montenegro (2007).

Finland (1989),

Hungary (1990),

Be careful not to confuse the Council of Europe with the European Union, a different institution which has 27 member countries. The Council of Europe makes its voice heard beyond the confines of the continent too. Five other countries have observer status with the Organisation: the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the Holy See.

Two official languages

English and French are the Council of Europeʼs official languages. German, Italian and Russian are used as working languages.

A s e a rc h engine foitiar tives ideas and in

project in the e as a political ap sh ok to pe Euro , with the aim of cond World War wake of the Se to a continent and prosperity bringing peace and atrocities rn apart by wars to en be d ha at th . for far too long Europe in 1949 the Council of The creation of European dation stone of un fo st ďŹ r e th was construction. st of all the is truly the olde n tio sa ni ga Or This stitutions. overnmental in European interg huge network of Europe is like a of l ci un Co e Th man rights, es of peace, hu lu va , es lu va shared It acts as an ad the rule of law. cs pi democracy and to or the maj ember States on viser to its 47 m for debate and m hosting a foru t, en om m e th of eas. exchanges of id nisation also rg-based Orga ou sb ra St is Th ial threats e various potent th t ns ai ag t ou speaks dards for rights setting the stan to our societies, eb" formed by the immense "w and freedoms in . Greater Europe s l of Europe ha ars, the Counci d an For over 60 ye s for idea al search engine operated as a re t. e whole continen initiatives for th


pical issues s to the key to on ti lu so h it w p u regular Europe comes which meet at s, m ru fo or aj The Council of in 4 m ebating them of our time, d intervals: is made up e of Ministers The Committe Ministers or Foreign Affairs of the Statesʼ 47 es. It is the t representativ en an rm pe r ei th presenting body directly re g in ak -m on si deci , which decides ts of the States the governmen d programme tionʼs budget an on the Organisa of activities. bl y br in gs en ta ry A ss em Th e Pa rl ia m the national esentatives of together repr lf of all the eaking on beha sp ts en am rli pa Assembly ted them. The ec el o wh s an Europe sing and then ects of its choo discusses subj e Committee endations to th makes recomm th e pr op os ed w hi ch re la ys , rs te is in M of member uncil of Europe Co ch ea to es iv in itiat country.

al cal and Region Congress of Lo es tiv ta en es assembly of repr s Authorities is an on gi re level of


country at the elected in their close contact es, who are in iti al ip ic un m d an s. with local citizen ternational e of INGOs (in The Conferenc ) is a vital link tal organisations en m rn ve go nno d citizens, cision-makers an de l ica lit po n ee betw s voice heard. making societyʼ

e Through thes 4 forums, the Council

of Europe e gives a voic to citizens,

regions s. and countrie

Hot topics

host covers a whole ere pe ro Eu of l ci H The Coun mblies. s different asse of topics in it examples: nt are a few rece t women violence agains ocracy respect for dem n judicial corruptio n io freedom of relig ial crisis es of the financ the consequenc ors ternet and min media on the In ge of climate chan the challenges e gic challeng water as a strate ecting orism while resp combating terr human rights ts regional conflic vironment gies and the en er en e bl wa ne re

to action e t a b e d m o Fr discussion rums l of Europeʼs fo in the Counci

n , adopted texts deliberatioat ies, conventions adoption of tre

ation untry recommendbe taken in each co of measures to

uncil of Europe One of the Co ocracy is a core values, dem rn m en t w he re fo rm of go ve ones who decide ci tizens are the rticipating. by voting and pa rope carries out The Council of Eu ing missions in its regular fact-find es, to check that member countri y ing, or on the wa democracy is be ly respected. to being, proper

S M O D E E R F D RIGHTS AN l ts, fundamenta for all or child, has righ an , ing, man, wom er 60 years now ov r Fo . ty Every human be ti en id tools for ne their human ding the main vi rights that defi ro p n ee b Europe has the Council of e rights. protecting thos by the Court

ol A navigation to m o d for more free

Human Rights Convention on The European l of Europe, an d by the Counci is a text create h: instrument whic t, freedom of edom of though - safeguards fre d security, the rights to life an expression, the ht to vote; erty and the rig right to own prop atment, the , inhumane tre re rtu to its ib - proh exclusion ry, the collective ve sla , lty na pe death of foreigners. gned the Conates have all si St lʼs ci un Co e Th to ensuring commits them h ic wh n, io nt ve tal rights on these fundamen l al r fo t ec sp re their territory. this planet as no peace on "There will be ated in some rights are viol an m hu as long ld." part of the wor

René Cassin


the European ke a case to ta ay m en tiz Any ci ve that one ts if they belie gh Ri an m Hu . Court of s been violated ental rights ha e th in of their fundam s le remedie g all the possib After exhaustin an application they may lodge d, ne er nc co se country erates on the ca The Court delib th wi y with the Court. pl m n to co State in questio ts en m and obliges the dg urtʼs ju ment). All the Co dg ju s (it g lin an ru m its ention on Hu e European Conv an are based on th place in the Hum t hearings take Rights. The Cour in Strasbourg. Rights Building ern the right judgments conc tʼs ur Co e th ngs Most of judicial proceedi d the length of as ch to a fair trial an su r issues led on many othe ru so al s ha it t es bu arches, dom tic suicide, body se d te sis as n, tio abor wearing of mosexuals, the ho by n tio op ad slavery, otection of jour ls in schools, pr . es religious symbo su is nmental and even enviro nalistsʼ sources

the cial Charter is ng So n ea p ro u E ei e Th arante instrument gu

rope Council of Eu provides for ic rights. It also om on ec d an al soci th, education, of housing, heal ea ar e th t in s right free movemen al protection, ci so t, en m oy empl ination. and non-discrim

pe A Greater Euro th penalty without the dea cceeded

in impoEurope has su in all its The Council of t en nishm on of capital pu sing the aboliti . member States l be abolished. ath penalty shal de e Th – 1 le ic "Art penalty or emned to such nd co be l al sh ention No one e European Conv ocol no. 13 to th executed." (Prot s). on Human Right

ner The Commissio ts investigates h for Human Rig dy, the Commis

independent bo ate Operating as an stigates the st an Rights inve y, tr un co sioner for Hum untry by s in Europe, co ts en m ru of human right st peʼs in e Council of Euro ensuring that th th. are complied wi

es of inquiry A few recent lin n? enders in priso

● Ever younger off always sabled persons ● Are the rights of di

ted? properly respec hooling their right to sc ● Roma children and ta recording of da ● The police and the using) ealth, water, ho ● Is the right to life (hate change? m threatened by cli ent stopping ● Minorities and freque police th and searching by t easures respec ● Do anti-terrorist m human rights?

h people Connecting wit dividual rights but they also

ve in Human beings ha ings with other rning their deal ve go s have right they arrive from ty, at work, when people, in socie e and so on. , when they retir another country re ty seeks to ensu is when a socie , en m , en Social cohesion m rs: wo of all its membe ed bl sa di the well-being , rly elde g people, the e children, youn pensioners, th s, er rk wo ners, persons, foreig c. unemployed et

Visiting hours

gates of prisons not stop at the Human rights do e Council of of detention. Th of or other places e Prevention mittee for th m Co ʼs pe ro Eu and lawyers, e up of doctors ad m ), PT (C e Tortur and psychiatric police stations visits prisons, king on living er Europe, chec , hospitals all ov giene and health mmodation, hy co ac s, on iti at nd co e States so th comments to th and sends its ns on board. recommendatio they can take its

y a s a n e r d l i Giving ch voices for children始s gning home, rope is campai Eu of l ci n cerns them: at ou n C co at The th g in decision-mak urts etc to be heard in r district, in co ei th in e, g lla eir vi at school, in th

tion s a child is a viola Violence toward of an obvious

s. It may be of human right to work, are ildren are forced ch en wh , re tu na street. ve to live in the exploited or ha ence against schools too: viol It can be seen in ing, theft, teachers, bully on s ck ta at , ls pupi ises. m to school prem insults, vandalis places where ten hidden, in Violence is of the home or be protected, in children should en violence itutions. And wh st in re ca ive at altern be easy to see l, it might not ca gi lo ho yc ps is damaging. but it is just as certain video indirect too, in Violence can be aggressive e, or in overly pl am ex r fo es gam ting practices. sales and marke

ng", against smacki d an h r u yo se "Rai promoting child

of violence Zero tolerance n against childre

rope campaign a Council of Eu t violence. education withou or clip round , pinch, shake ap sl k, ac sm A "little" ildʼs rights and, eaches of a ch br l al e ar r ea l the ysical and menta cause serious ph needless to say, y physical ent – disciplinar m sh ni pu al or harm! Corp ols, so why in Europeʼs scho ed nn ba is – violence not at home?

adopted the uncil of Europe In 2007, the Co n of children r the protectio Convention fo sexual abuse, ploitation and ex al xu se t ns agai to establish the ional legal text at rn te in t rs fi e th e of children as of sexual abus various forms use committed s, including ab criminal offence the family. in the home or today as many that in Europe It is estimated al ults suffer sexu ren or young ad as 1 in 10 child abuse.

r ordeal for marked by thei be ay m s im ct vi The r lives. the rest of thei can take many use of children The sexual ab ns with a st (sexual relatio ce in s: rm fo t differen y, prostitution, ily), pornograph m fa e th of r be mem trafficking. ophilia, assault, organised paed e e media, on th anywhere, in th It can happen me, carried tly occurs at ho os m it t bu , et Intern d ily or so-calle rs of the fam be em m by t ou "friends".

Having a level playing field means that two teams can compete on an equal footing, a starting position of equality. But beyond the sports field, we must form one team working together to ensure equality between men and women or girls and boys. According to the official texts, women and men are equal in law but, in practice and everyday life, too many women and girls are direct victims of exploitation, domestic violence, unemployment, rape, discrimination and so on.

Equality is not opposed to differences In its fight for gender equality, the Council of Europe reminds us that the word ʻʻequalityʼʼ also means:

visibility: men and women must have clear access to the same jobs

and careers. Girls and boys must have the same options open to them at school, so that they can have an equal choice of careers later on.

empowerment: a man and a woman must enjoy the same degree of

freedom. One of them must not depend on the other one. One must not maltreat or verbally or physically abuse the other.

recognition: men and women must have equal pay for the same work. participation: men and women must be able to participate in the same way in political and public life, as well as in private and family life. Differences in gender do not mean differences in rights.

, S C I H T E O BI

ress but ly making prog nt ta ns co e ar logy uncil of Europe ine and techno beings. The Co Science, medic an m hu of t accompany the detrimen s and ideas to le ru l sometimes to ca hi et of of e a whole packag oethics, a kind ens. This is bi has developed pp ha it as e edical scienc progress in m human rights. medicine and n ee tw be t in meeting po inforntaining all the DNA: molecule co a living being. Fast to create mation needed chnologies, arch and new te se re in es nc va ad the Council , are prompting like "DNA chips" l and legal cus on the ethica of Europe to fo netics. applications of ge issues raised by

eu=good (from the Greek a gentle eath), meaning and thanatos=d refers to ffering. The term death, without su cause or te ds to precipita the use of metho g erin from il extreme suff death and curta is triggering ess. Euthanasia an incurable illn ts within ns and argumen tio es qu of t lo a Europe: in the Council of society and with of care? an ultimate act is it a crime or helped to die? Can someone be


development first stage in the m or part e animal kingdo th in g eg e th of s, from the ants. In human of the seed in pl us. When speak of a foet eighth week, we me a human e embryo beco exactly does th These are t it be protected? us m en wh g, in be to which the rsial questions highly controve , religions tween countries answers differ be of Europeʼs s. The Council or philosophie the use of ention prohibits Bioethics Conv techniques d reproduction medically assiste the future lecting the sex of with a view to se for research human embryos child or creating purposes.


uction of a identical reprod m its DNA. an individual fro cell, a gene or e cloning rope prohibits th The Council of Eu . of human beings


the soul." e perdition of th t u b is ce n hout conscie "Science wit 32 çois Rabelais, 15 Fran

ne contraction of ge e complete e designating th om os m ro ch d an be found netic material to collection of ge genetics is arch in human in humans. Rese ds and opeleaps and boun progressing in g illnesses. ilities for curin ning up possib sure that rope is keen to en The Council of Eu t used for or testing is no genetic research es. than medical on purposes other

e: Human genom

removal of an individual and e from organ or tissu tissue into of that organ or transplantation of Europe al. The Council another individu e principle emphasis on th lays particular voluntary cialisation and er m m co nno of origin in tances of human donation of subs ing. t organ traďŹƒck order to preven

nts: Organ transpla an

of organ transplantation mans. The animals into hu or tissue from ecautions lists numerous pr Council of Europe e, drawing th this techniqu to be taken wi of viruses ion to the risks particular attent urce animal ed from the so being transmitt nd them. and those arou to the recipient


Blog it! Ian, aged 15, publishes articles on a blog which he shares with a few friends. He wants to write one on freedom of expression in Europe and manages to arrange an interview with a representative of the Council of Europe to find out more... Ian: What is freedom of expression as you see it? Freedom of expression is part and parcel of democracy. In the words of article 10 of the Council of Europeʼs Convention on Human Rights, "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression".

Ian: Can you give me an example? When young people get into trouble for expressing alternative and critical views on the web about what their government is doing, that is an infringement of their freedom of expression.

Ian: What about the media? The media must be independent and free to express the full range of public opinion in their country.

Ian: What happens if the media are all owned by the same people? A concentration of media in the hands of a few is a threat to freedom of expression. When media are monopolised by a handful of really powerful multi-media groups, the diversity of information sources is in danger.

Ian: Does the European Court of Human Rights play a role in protecting freedom of expression?

The Court plays a key role wherever freedom of expression is challenged. Over the last thirty years it has handed down a lot of rulings protecting this fundamental right.

Ian: Are there any limits to freedom of expression? Yes, some limits have to be set, in particular to prevent racist and xenophobic speech. Another imperative is not undermining the presumption of a personʼs innocence when reporting information. Media freedom is not a free licence, either, to invade peopleʼs privacy or to make gratuitous and unfounded defamatory statements. Ian: Are there any circumstances where freedom of expression is particularly under threat? In a democracy freedom of expression and information is vital at all times but it becomes all the more important in a crisis, in war-time or where there is a terrorist threat. Governments must not take advantage of these situations, on the pretext of guaranteeing public security, in order to restrict the free movement of media professionals or access to information. The right of journalists not to reveal their sources must also be respected.

Ian: and in the fight against terrorism? The free circulation of information and ideas is one of the most effective means of promoting understanding and tolerance, and therefore of preventing and combating terrorism. Ian: Does it happen in Europe that journalists are threatened? In some cases journalists are harassed by police, imprisoned for no reason and sometimes even assassinated, simply for doing their job. The Council of Europe condemns these incidents whenever they occur.

Ian: What does the Council of Europe do in the area of TV? For over fifteen years now, the Council of Europe has been looking at the free circulation of television programmes between the member States, freedom to receive programmes, the responsibility of broadcasters, programming content and advertising. All these topics are dealt with in the European Convention on transfrontier television, a text which is adapted to keep step with the latest developments. Ian: How does the Internet influence freedom of expression in your opinion?

The Internet has given a real boost to freedom of expression and information. For the Council of Europe, access to information on the Internet must be neither controlled nor restricted, there must be self-regulation and user anonymity must be preserved. But some measures do have to be taken, especially to protect children.

s e s r o h N A J T RO

rcrime, laundering, cybe ey on m , m is or terr not escape the tion, corruption, ies that must et Racism, exploita ci so r ou in n comes evils lurking rg Organisatio ou sb ra St drugs... are all e Th eye. pe始s watchful Council of Euro combat them. to s on how on ti es gg su h up wit

... racisme towards certain groups

toleranc ties. Racism and in European socie e on the up in ar es iti or in m ro or uncil of Eu pe founded, the Co s wa it ce sin Ever ainst these ken action ag ta ly al ic at em nst has syst mmission agai e European Co s nd ki l phenomena. Th al combats lerance (ECRI) to In d an to sm d ci Ra prejudice linke rimination and of violence, disc nality and , religion, natio ge ua ng la , ur lo race, co ic origin. national or ethn

n ... corruptio cial, police officer,

en a public offi Corruption is wh or or even esentative, doct pr re d te ec el n judge, e of their positio takes advantag of ds sports referee re nd t that hu in. It is though for monetary ga corrupt dealings m s are made fro ro eu of s , on lli bi uncil of Europe is why the Co at Th . ar ye tion each against corrup oup of States rm fo through its Gr re to r States ing its membe is th t (Greco), is help to comba and practices ns tio itu st in r ei th plague.

... exploitation

and trafficking of human being s

Every year thousands of men, wom en and children in Europe fall victim to some form of exploitation. The Council of Europe, through its Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, seeks to protect the victims, stan d up for their rights and have the perpetrators of these acts prosecuted.

... money laundering their ill-gotten

fficker covers up When a drug tra e business, em in legitimat th g in st ve in re e gains by . It is a practic oney "laundering" g in ud we talk about m cl in ime, all kinds of cr n io ut that encourages g, prostit arms traffickin g, in ck ffi tra th drug ckled in e ese issues are ta th l Al n. tio up rr ey and co to combat mon peʼs convention Council of Euro laundering.

... terrorism

Not a day goes by withou t new victims dying in a terrorist attack som ewhere in the world. Following the successive attacks in New York, Washington, Istanbul, Mad rid and London in the 2000s, the Council of Eur ope has stepped up its efforts to encourage gov ernments to bring terrorist networks to justice but also to try to understand the kind of soc ial factors that could make people want to carry out such acts of extremism. Web-based pro paganda by terrorist networks is another major challenge and a real threat to human rights and democracy.

... drugs problems not only for the

ts to y Drug use poin t also in societ uming them bu ns co g on individuals am ndency ugs create depe Dr e. ol wh le a ab as nts must be n and their pare users. Childre ere must t drugs, and th ou ab ly en op l to speak ternational leve national and in er th be dialogue at ge bringing to pidou Group, too. The Pom ber States (as of Europeʼs mem l ci un Co e th 35 of on), encourages pean Commissi ns well as the Euro onals, politicia tween professi s lp he this debate be d ound, an rking on the gr wo s rt pe ex ug d dr an ht against eir efforts to fig countries in th trafficking.


With over a billion users in the world, the Internet has a huge impact on society, but so too, unfortunately, does crime using the Internet, or cybercrime. The Council of Europe is the ďŹ rst organisation to have drawn up a Convention on cybercrime at international level. Cybercriminals know no frontiers and can operate in any country.

What are the forms of cybercrime? malware or malicious codes and programmes, which may be viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, bots or botnets criminal enterprises using tools like botnets, which are collections of software robots spam, which is mass junk advertising sent to web users, not only causing a nuisance but potentially carrying malware child pornography and the growing sexual exploitation of children to make money on the Internet circulating hate pamphlets and fanatical views using websites or spam terrorism using the Internet (hacking attacks against key infrastructures, recruitment, financing, propaganda) piracy, identity theft, fraud or money laundering to make illegal profits white-collar crime through hacking targeting specific users, groups, organisations or industrial companies crime linked to the development of on-line trading, community sites and ʻʻcloud computingʼʼ (using networked memories and computing systems).

Proper internet use is something to be encouraged, as long as it is completely safe.

The Council of Europe is also working to reduce the risks of young people ending up on unsuitable sites or coming into contact with people with the very worst intentions.

WWW is also for

Wild Web Woods, the Council of Europeʼs on-line game which teaches young people the basic security rules to follow when surfing the web.

Click on Yes y t i s r e v i d r fo

idea that our med up by the m su st be is t ojec origins, the European pr verse people, di nd hi y: it be rs y ve ph di so of lt The philo mply the resu call Europe. tity is quite si hole which we en w id a tʼs rm en fo in to nt co d together ltures, all adde histories and cu

oken in guages are sp Over 200 lan nguage(s) to the official la n tio di ad In e. e host of Europ there are a whol

r State of each membe e languages languages. Thes ity or in m d an al region d therefore written form an a ve ha ys wa al do not uage disaphenever a lang W g. rin ea pp sa risk di n, a heritage lture, a traditio cu a so al is it pears, tinct. that becomes ex e Council istic wealth, th gu lin is th d ar To safegu r, signed by 24 awn up a charte e of Europe has dr facilitate the us ing countries to ic bl pu in States, encourag s ge ua d minority lang of regional an media. e th in or ts in cour life, at school,

Minority report

ts, people other continen In Europe, as on tside their ou set up home d an nd ou ar e mov , to reunite in order to work country of origin e difficult th or to escape ily m fa r ei th with they left. s in the country living condition European of ns the populatio That means that ing from at in ig t of people or countries consis ity) and or aj m erned (the nc co try un co the es). where (minoriti people from else its member Europe calls on of l ci un Co e Th ich respect velop policies wh de to es tri un co es and disinorities, refuge the rights of m ensure that to it also seeks s; on rs pe ed ac pl ows as well age migratory fl an m es tri un co l al e successfully that migrants ar d an le ib ss po as tries. e different coun integrated in th

ry Viewing hisa to versions, lot of different

in History comes untry there taught? In any co be to it is w ho so books were when history text have been times interpretalse ions and fa in op ed as bi of full occurrences rly regarding la cu rti pa , ns tio Once the ring countries. ou hb ig ne ng lvi invo rope was no e down and Eu Berlin wall cam e Council of th to two blocs, in ed vid di er ng lo r States to aged its membe ur co en pe ro Eu ory teaching pupils with hist ol ho sc e id ov pr ereotypes and alive, free of st e or m s wa at th pean civilith issues of Euro wi h uc to in e or m re. sation and cultu

vellers Roma and Tra Travellers

are n Roma or io ill m 10 to 8 Council of virtually all the nd ou ar ad re sp communir States. These be em m ʼs pe ro Eu the rest of isunderstood by m n te of e ar s tie comes from The word "Rom" n. tio la pu po e th uman being" which means "h ", om "D rd wo e th Roma comlanguage. For i an m Ro e th in rights of exercise all the lly fu to es iti un m intolerance and to combat g in be an m hu a Europe is , the Council of sm yi ps Gy tian or Roma comaking sure that m to ed itt m m co dly treated. t excluded or ba no e ar es iti un m

lf, g from self to se in go is ng lli ve "Tra uareg others." As this to passing through the es omot

out, travel pr proverb points e Council of of cultures. Th understanding the Internaupled up with Europe has co lp less forRailways to he tional Union of selves on people get them tunate young l events. to internationa track to travel

emory Expanding m unched a cil of Europe la

un In 2001 the Co brance" to eaching remem "T d project calle tter grasp of ol pupils a be help give scho story, paran and world hi events in Europe the Second locaust during ticularly the Ho s and crimes all the genocide World War and in the 20th ity perpetrated against human century.

ons Mobile connecti for youth rope invites

young peoEu The Council of topics such g and discuss ple to come alon intercultural s education and as human right rious counleaders from va dialogue. Youth uth Centres the European Yo tries meet up in pest (Hunrance) and Buda in Strasbourg (F g programmes. gary) for trainin riences to ideas and expe They exchange at diversity derstanding of wh gain a better un is about.



Cultural diversity and biodiversity are closely connected and should be celebrated in all our societies. The Council of Europe sees culture as the

"soul of democracy" and develops cultural policies aimed at:

promoting human rights

getting citizens to participate bringing people together

reaching beyond borders thanks to common projects asserting the diversity of cultures and identities sharing the past

preventing conflicts.

The European Cultural Convention, adopted

in 1954, is the medium for European cooperation in the areas of culture, education, youth and sport.

The intercultural cities programme

is an initiative coordinated by the Council of Europe. It encourages cities to use their multiculturalism to positively manage conflicts and violence that might arise as a result of the great diversity of their communities. All manner of initiatives are encouraged: discussion workshops on cultures, world music festivals, mediators in hospitals, football tournaments etc


Eurimages supports European films which best reflect the diversity of the continent. Over 1 200 full-length features and documentaries have received support from this foundation set up by the Council of Europe, and some of them have received awards at the most prestigious festivals.

Walking in their steps

We can trace our ancestorsʼ activities through the archaeological footprints they left behind them.

The Council of Europeʼs Cultural routes programme features these traces of the past in guided routes following the paths trodden by generations of travellers over the centuries.

The Council of Europe has sketched out 25 routes

going through numerous countries, each and every

one of them a celebration of our common cultural

heritage: Routes featuring the olive tree, Vikings, Don Quixote, Mozart and the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrims are just a few examples.

Access your heritage

Once a year museums, historical buildings and other cultural sites open their doors to give the citizens of 49 countries an exceptional view inside. These are the European Heritage days, an initiative launched by the Council of Europe in 1991. Whether it concerns the built environment, archaeological vestiges, movable assets, landscape or local know-how, cultural heritage forms by its very nature a major component of our living context and our environment. Ever since drafting the Framework Convention on the value of cultural heritage for society, the Council of Europe has argued the case that heritage should leave room for human progress, while preserving: substantial cultural and landscape diversity

dialogue between citizens of different cultures, working together to make heritage part and parcel of everyday life

sustainable enjoyment of heritage, so that future generations can benefit from it too.

Protected spaces and species

Greater Europe is also home to many forms of wildlife and their natural habitats. Thirty years ago, the Council of Europe introduced the Bern Convention to ensure the conservation of natural habitats and vulnerable wild flora and fauna, from invertebrates up to large carnivores, including migratory species.

Biodiversity and climate change

The Council of Europe strives to soften the impact of climate change on biological diversity, giving opinions and guidance to States so that they take the right kind of environmental policies on board.

Landscape format

Landscapes are meeting points between culture and nature, evolving in time under the combined influence of natural forces and human activity. The Council of Europe gives pointers to its States on how to let landscapes evolve harmoniously while reflecting European diversity.

Landscapes are also: - our day-to-day environment - the urban or rural world - the land or water that surrounds us

t... e s t e g , y d a Re ... go!

ons sport Europe champi of l ci un Co e Th for human eat baton-carrier because it is a gr ople fitter t only makes pe values. Sport no ills that are them develop sk but also helps g part of a y too, like bein et ci so in ul ef us od winner ir and being a go team, playing fa or loser. your age, to all, whatever And it is open lture or initial ge, religion, cu ua ng la , er nd ge ability.

Play fair!

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Europeʼs AntiThe Council of only legal d in 1989, is the ne sig n, tio en Conv Its aim is to cut

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Time out!

ease tensions out is called to e tim ts or sp y In man ams a break. and give the te n s called betwee world a truce wa . In the ancient es m Olympic ga ties during the warring Greek ci a pretext for vio t is all too often l But today, spor ica ys , threats, ph al sides: insults riv n ee tw be ce d len ic attitudes an and xenophob d violence, racist lle ca rope has e Council of Eu th So . ts en m s, com ce in stadium ectator violen of time out on sp ke . In the wa football matches ft particularly at 1985 which le ium tragedy in on the Heysel stad d re riously inju orters dead or se e dozens of supp rope adopted th e Council of Eu ce the terraces, th en ol tator vi ention on spec European Conv measures out a package of ng tti se , ar ye e that sam event situations the States to pr by n ke ta be to nd. getting out of ha

WINDOWS open... ... on the rest of the world

The North-South Centre in Lisbon (Portugal) relays the Council of Europeʼs ideas beyond our continent and focuses on topics linked to solidarity and globalisation. Young people are central to its activities.

... on the international scene

The Council of Europe cooperates with other organisations, particularly in the spheres of human rights, democracy and the rule of law:

● the European Union (EU), which has 27 Member

States and a long tradition of cooperation with the Council of Europe. On a base of shared values, these two organisations mutually benefit from each otherʼs strengths and expertise.

● the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) working in areas such as combating terrorism, protecting national minorities and fighting against human trafficking.

● the United Nations Organisation (UN) working in areas such as promoting and protecting childrenʼs rights, combating violence against women and preventing torture.

check out the hip-hop version of the European anthem recorded in 2004


of Greater Europe

12 gold stars

on a blue background. The European flag was adopted by the Council of Europe back in 1955. The European Unionʼs institutions have been using the same flag since 1986. The number 12 refers to perfection, the months of the year, the apostles or the mythological works of Hercules. The stars form a circle to symbolise unity.

The official European anthem

is an excerpt from the prelude to the "Ode to joy" from Beethovenʼs 9th Symphony, with an arrangement by Herbert von Karajan, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1972 and later by the European Union. Other arrangements have been recorded since, including for symphony orchestra, organ, piano (classical and jazz), rock guitar, jazz violin, techno and trance.

The Council of Europe has had its headquarters in Strasbourg since 1949. The ʻʻEuropean districtʼʼ is also home to other institutions, such as the EUʼs European Parliament.

The Council of Europe - Unlimited connections