Eddy Van Drom Hiroyuki Mitsuishi
Eddy Van Drom 氏の講義テキスト
For this mini-lecture, I will present briefly the oldest European organisation, namely the Council of Europe. First, I will describe the historical background of its foundation. Secondly, its structure and functions will be reviewed. Thirdly, I will underlined differences with other European organisations before drawing some conclusions.
To better understand why the Council of Europe became necessary, let’s first examine the history of wars in Europe.
Today Europe may seem peaceful but it would be an error to think that it has been always the case.
With the collapse of Ancient Rome, which had brought a long period of peace in Europe, the continent became the theater of incessant conflicts.
From the 13th century, more than fifty battles, wars, and insurrections tore the European nations. On the following graph, the number of conflicts by century shows a sharp increase from the start of the 19th century toward the middle of the 20th century. Indeed, Europe entered then the darkest period of its history, with two World Wars. The Second World War was the most destructive conflict in humanity’s history which caused the death of more than 70 millions people in the world.
The Allies overcame the forces of the Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan) but to make sure that such a disaster doesn’t happen again, the United Nations was founded.
In Europe, particularly affected by these world conflicts, the idea of an integration began to appear as the only guarantee against the repetition of such tremendous devastations.
The best representation of the sadness of the war in Europe can be found in Strasbourg, in Alsace, which is a region at times part of Germany, some other times part of France, both nations being enemies of each other during wars. In the center of this town can be found a park called “Place de la Republique” and a monument in memory of the victims. As you can see, it represents a mother mourning her two sons killed during the war, one being French, and the other German. On the commemorative plaque, one can read “A nos morts”, to our dead, where “our” refers to France as well as to Germany.
In May 1948, three years after the signature of the second World War armistice, a congress of more than a thousand government representatives, politicians and civil society was held at The Hague to discuss the creation of a European organisation to foster the reconciliation of the people. The congress adopted a “Message to the Europeans” requiring the coordination of economic policies, a European Assembly, the integration of Germany, a Charter of the Human Rights, a Court of Justice and a center of childhood, youth and culture.
That is how the Council of Europe came to life. Indeed, on May 5, 1949, was signed the Treaty of London which created the Council of Europe. It is today the oldest political organisation of Europe.
The original signatories were
Belgium, Denmark, France, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom, joined the same year by Greece and Turkey.
Today, the Council is composed of 47 countries which are here classified by historical order of membership.
For the reasons we have mentioned above, the headquarters of the Council were established in Strasbourg. More precisely, in the Palace of Europe (Le Palais de l’Europe in French). Let's have a look at it.
As you can see on the picture, the name is in French as well as in English. The reason is that they are both official languages of the organisation.
On the next slides you can see the drive leading to the building entrance.
Here are the flanking flags of the 47 members.
You can see here two other wider views of the front part of the Palace of Europe.
You have here a view of the reception desk room where are displayed all the publications of the organisation.
Computers are also at your disposal to access electronic libraries of the Council.
Since one of its goal is European unity, the flag and the anthem of the Council are the same that European Union ones. The flag is a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background, and the anthem is the orchestral version of "Ode to joy" from Beethoven's 9th symphony.
The logo is a reproduction of that flag superposed with a large "e" standing fo "Europe".
But first what is the structure of this organisation?
The Council of Europe is composed of a Secretary General and four bodies:
The Commitee of Ministers
The Parliamentary Assembly
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
The Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations
The Secretary General is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly for a five-years term.
Since 2004, It is Terry Davis from the United Kingdom which is at the helm of the Council.
With the help of the secretariat, his or her role is to implement a Programme of priorities to be approved by the Committee of Ministers.
The Committee of Ministers is the Council decision-making body. It is composed of the foreign ministers of the 47 member states or representatives in Strasbourg. It decides on the political outline of the organisation, it votes the budget, it adopts European conventions. It also makes sure that member states's comply with their commitments, allows or not the admission of new members, and sees to it that European Court of Human Rights' rulings are implemented.
The Parliamentary Assembly is formed of 318 members and 318 substitutes appointed by their own national parliaments. That is the consultative organ of the Council. Four times a year, they meet together to discuss big issues of the moment, it makes recommandations to the Committee of Ministers, it launches many conventions as well. They also elect the Secretary General.
Created in 1994, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is a consultative body which comprises two chambers of 318 full members and 318 substitutes. It appoints its president which remains in office for two ordinary sessions. The Congress, meeting once a year in Strasbourg, is the voice of Europe's regions and municipalities. Its role is to consolidate the local democratic structures, in particular in new democraties.
The Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations groups 370 organisations together.
Thanks to this consultative body, the Council of Europe can include them in its activities, fostering the dialogue between the members of the parliament, local and regional authorities, and associations with social aims.
But what are the functions of these five bodies? There are 13 fields of actions that we will class according to the main objectives of the organisation.
The first and most important aim is to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law.
The related field of actions are 1. the Human Rights field, including protection, promotion and prevention; 2. the Media and the democracy; and 3. the legal co-operation
The second aim is to promote and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity.
Three fields of actions are to be noted: 4. the European culture, 5. Culture and Heritage, and 6. Natural heritage, landscape protection and sustainable development.
The third aim is to find solutions to challenging issues facing European society.
7. Health's protection and promotion, 8. sports, and 9. youth are some of the related targets of actions.
The fourth and last aim is to consolidate democratic stability in Europe.
Fields of actions are 10. the social cohesion, 11. the development financing, 12. the North-South relations, and 13. education.
Let’s close here the brief description of the Council. But what are the relations with Japan?
Indeed, with Canada, the Holy see, The United States of America, Israel, and Mexico, Japan has the status of observer with the Council. In order to keep tight links with the organization, Japan has an Consul general at Strasbourg in France.
Eventhough Japan is only an observer nation, it is asked to abolish the death penalty still applied today. However for the moment Japan does not agree yet with the idea of human rights established by the Council of Europe.
To conclude this mini-course, we would like to stress the main difference with the European Union.
EU is a political union of European countries trying to create a single legislative, administrative, and judicial organs. On the other hand, the Council is a body of nations aiming at the spread throughout the world of the European cultural values like the ideas of Human Rights and democracy.
Eddy Van Drom ヨーロッパ評議会1
Eddy Van Drom ヨーロッパ評議会形成史2
作成者 Eddy Van Drom、 三石博行
１、 欧州評議会 Wikipedia
2、 Council of Europe Wikipedia
3、西本秀樹研究室（龍谷大学経済学部）の紹介 Nisimoto Seminar
6-9、Eddy Van Drom 氏のインターネット講座 ヨーロッパ評議会の形成史
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