The Council of Europe is an international intergovernmental organisation which is located in Strasbourg, France and has currently 45 democratic states as its members. (The Council of Europe should not be confused with the European Union. The two organisations are quite distinct. The 28 European Union Member States, however, are all members of the Council of Europe.)
Any European State can become a member of the Council of Europe provided, it accepts the principle of the rule of law and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms to everyone under its jurisdiction.
The Council of Europe covers all major issues facing European society other than defence. Fields of activity: human rights, media, legal co-operation, social cohesion, health, education, culture, heritage, sport, youth, local democracy and transfrontier co-operation, the environment and regional planning.
Decision-making bodies and statutory organs