The Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organisation which aims:
- to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
- to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity;
- to seek solutions to problems facing European society (discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance, environmental protection, human cloning, Aids, drugs, organised crime, etc.);
- to help consolidate democratic stability in Europe by supporting political, legislative and constitutional reform.
The Council of Europe has 47 member states (including all EU members) except Belarus.
The Council is financed by the governments of member states whose contributions to the organisation's budget are calculated in relation to their population and wealth. The 2013 budget is approximately EUR 244 million. The Austrian contribution for 2013 amounts to approximately EUR 4.17 million, which is equivalent to 1.75% of the organisation’s overall budget.
3. The Bodies
The Council of Europe is composed of the following institutions:
- the Committee of Ministers,
- the Parliamentary Assembly,
- the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities,
- the Secretary General and
- the Human Rights Court and the Human Rights Commissioner.