RECOMMENDATION 1212 (1993)
adoption of a revised Statute of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has taken on new responsibilities at continental level since
the democratic process started in the central and east European countries.
The Assembly therefore regards the revision of the Statute of the Organisation, which
dates back to 1949, as essential and to this end it submits to the Committee of Ministers
the draft revised Statute which it has prepared. The Assembly considers that the revised
Statute should be adopted on the occasion of the summit of heads of state and government
in Vienna in October 1993 , which will be a major political event in the life of the
Council of Europe. This would then show the new role which has fallen upon the Council of
Europe in the construction of Europe.
In addition to this political target, the revision will also make it possible:
to up-date the Statute and bring its wording into line with current practice and with
the institutional texts adopted by the Committee of Ministers since 1949;
to adapt the Organisation's structure, particularly with a view to increasing its
capacity for action and strengthening its ties with the main European institutions.
Consequently the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
approve the draft revised Statute of the Council of Europe;
invite member states to adopt it on the occasion of the summit of heads of state and
government in Vienna in October 1993;
consult it on all draft statutory resolutions which are intended to advance the
process of institutional reform, pending implementation of the proposed revision of the
Draft revised Statute of the Council of Europe
The governments of the Council of Europe member states,
Convinced that the pursuit of peace based upon justice and international co-operation
is vital for the preservation of human society and civilisation,
Reaffirm their devotion to the spiritual and moral values which are the common
heritage of all their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty
and the rule of law, the principles which form the basis of all effective pluralist
Believing that, for the maintenance and further realisation of these ideals and for
the promotion of social and economic progress, there is need of a closer unity between all
like-minded countries of Europe;
Recall that the Council of Europe was established for this purpose on 5 May 1949 by
the Treaty of London;
Consider that this unity must be extended over the whole of Europe and that
acceptance of the values on which it is founded must be promoted among all the European
peoples wishing to be part of it;
Decide to adapt accordingly the structures of the Council of Europe, whose function
is to bring together all the countries of Europe for the purpose of co-operating together
on an equal footing and developing ever-closer links within its framework, thereby
safeguarding the peace, security and democratic stability of the continent.
Chapter I - Aim of the Council of Europe
a. The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve an ever-greater unity between
its members, founded on the principles of parliamentary democracy, the rule of law and
human rights, for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and values which
are their common heritage and facilitating their social and economic progress.
b. This aim shall be pursued through the organs of the Council by discussion of
questions of common concern, by conventions and agreements and common action in the fields
necessary to achieve this unity with the exception of matters relating to national
Chapter II - Membership
The members of the Council of Europe are the Parties to this Statute.
Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of pluralist
parliamentary democracy, of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its
jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It undertakes to collaborate
sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in
Chapter I. In particular, it shall facilitate the fulfilment of their mission by the
organs and the institutions of the Council of Europe.
Any European state which is deemed to be able and willing to fulfil the provisions of
Article 3 and which undertakes to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights and to
submit to the jurisdiction of the organs established under the Convention, may be invited
by the Committee of Ministers, after obtaining the assent of the Parliamentary Assembly,
to become a member of the Council of Europe. Any state so invited shall become a member
upon the deposit with the Secretary General on its behalf of an instrument of accession to
the present Statute.
a. A European state which is deemed able and willing to fulfil the provisions of
Article 3 may be invited by the Committee of Ministers, after obtaining the assent of the
Assembly, to become an associate member of the Council of Europe. Any state so invited
shall become an associate member upon the deposit with the Secretary General on its behalf
of the instrument accepting the present Statute. An associate member shall be represented
in the Parliamentary Assembly, without the right to vote. It may be invited by the
Committee of Ministers to participate in meetings, without the right to vote.
b. The expression "member" in the Statute includes an associate member,
except when otherwise stated.
A state, interested in the activities of the Organisation may be granted observer
status by the Committee of Ministers, after obtaining the assent of the Assembly.
Observers are not represented in the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers
unless a decision to the contrary is taken by one of those bodies.
The Council of Europe shall maintain appropriate institutional and working relations
with the European Community, in accordance with arrangements to be determined by the
Committee of Ministers with the prior approval of the Parliamentary Assembly.
An international intergovernmental organisation willing to co-operate closely with the
Council of Europe and deemed able to make an important contribution to its work may be
granted observer status by the Committee of Ministers after obtaining the assent of the
The Secretary General acting on behalf of the Committee of Ministers and after
obtaining the assent of the Assembly may conclude co-ordination and co-operation
agreements with other international intergovernmental organisations as well as agreements
with non-member states wishing to participate in specific sectors of the Organisation's
The Secretary General may consult international non-governmental organisations which
deal with matters that are within the competence of the Council of Europe and whose
activities in the various fields of European co-operation must be encouraged. The
establishment of formal working relations between the Council of Europe and international
non-governmental organisations is subject to special regulations.
Before issuing invitations under Article 4 or Article 5 above, the Committee of
Ministers shall determine the proportionate financial contribution of the future member
having regard to the population figure and the gross domestic product.
Any member of the Council of Europe may withdraw by formally notifying the Secretary
General of its intention to do so. When such notification is made within the first nine
months of the year, it shall take effect at the end of the year. In this event, the state
shall be liable for the whole amount of its contribution for that year. When notification
is made during the last three months of the year, it shall take effect at the end of the
following year, for which the state shall remain liable for the whole amount of its
Any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may, after
obtaining the assent of the Parliamentary Assembly, be suspended from its rights of
representation or requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw under Article 12. If
such member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased
to be a member of the Council as from such date as the Committee may determine after
obtaining the assent of the Assembly.
The Committee of Ministers may, after obtaining the assent of the Assembly, suspend the
right of representation on the Committee and in the Parliamentary Assembly of a member
which has failed to fulfil its financial obligations during such period as the obligations
Chapter III - General
The organs of the Council of Europe are:
i. the Committee of Ministers;
ii. the Parliamentary Assembly.
These organs shall be served by the Secretariat of the Council of Europe.
A conference of heads of state or government shall meet periodically within the
framework of the Council of Europe to lay down the general policy guidelines for its
activity, which the Assembly shall then consider.
The seat of the Council of Europe is at Strasbourg.
The official languages of the Council of Europe are English and French. The Rules of
Procedure of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly shall determine in
what circumstances and under what conditions other languages may be used.
Chapter IV - Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers is the organ which acts on behalf of the Council of Europe,
in accordance with Articles 21 and 22, without prejudice to the prerogatives of the
a. Each member shall be entitled to one representative on the Committee of
Ministers, and each representative shall be entitled to one vote. Representatives on the
Committee shall be the ministers for foreign affairs. When a minister for foreign affairs
is unable to be present or in other circumstances where it may be desirable, an alternate
may be nominated to act for him, who shall, whenever possible, be a member of his
b. Each minister shall appoint a deputy to act in his or her name outside
meetings held at ministerial level. Decisions taken by the deputies shall have the same
force and effects as those taken by the Committee of Ministers sitting at ministerial
c. The Council of Europe shall establish close working relations with the
conferences of specialised ministers. In appropriate cases the Committee of Ministers may
delegate its powers to a conference of specialised ministers.
d. During any period when its representation in the Assembly is suspended, a
member shall not be entitled to vote in the Committee of Ministers and may not occupy the
a. The Committee of Ministers shall engage in permanent political dialogue for
the purpose of reaching agreed positions on questions of mutual interest and so
contributing to cohesion and solidarity between the member states.
b. On the recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly or on its own initiative,
it shall consider any measure intended to reinforce co-operation between the member states
in the Organisation's various fields of activity.
c. As appropriate, the conclusions of the Committee may take the form of
conventions, agreements or protocols, recommendations to the member states or resolutions.
They shall be communicated to members by the Secretary General.
d. Such conventions and agreements shall be binding only upon the states which
have given their consent thereto by ratification or other appropriate procedures. The
instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council
e. A Council of Europe activity may be restricted to only some of the member
states and take the form of a partial agreement. It shall be deemed to have been adopted
only by the representatives of the member states who voted in favour of it. In its
composition restricted to representatives of member states of a partial agreement, the
Committee of Ministers may invite any non-member state to join a partial agreement.
Likewise, the Committee of Ministers may decide to extend an activity under an
enlarged agreement to include a state that is not a member of the Council of Europe.
The Committee of Ministers shall, subject to the provisions of Articles 18, 29, 30, 32,
33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42 43, 44, 47.b, 49, relating to the powers of the
Parliamentary Assembly, decide with binding effect all matters relating to the internal
organisation and arrangements of the Council of Europe. For this purpose the Committee of
Ministers shall adopt such financial and administrative regulations as may be necessary.
The Committee of Ministers may, after obtaining the assent of the Parliamentary
Assembly, establish specialised institutions operating within the framework of the Council
of Europe and set up advisory and technical committees or commissions for such specific
purposes as it may deem desirable.
The Committee of Ministers shall adopt its Rules of Procedure, which shall determine
amongst other things:
i. the quorum;
ii. the method of appointment and term of office of its President;
iii. the procedure for the admission of items to its agenda, including the giving of
notice of proposals for resolutions;
iv. the notifications required for the nomination of alternates under Article 20;
v. the powers of the Ministers' Deputies;
vi. the delegation of authority to conferences of specialised ministers;
relations with the Parliamentary Assembly;
viii. the membership of the Bureau of the Committee of Ministers;
relations with the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities.
At each part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly the Committee of Ministers shall
furnish the Assembly with a report on its activity, accompanied by the appropriate
documentation. The Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers shall present this
report at a public sitting of the Assembly and shall answer questions.
a. The following decisions of the Committee of Ministers shall require a vote
supported by all its members who cast a vote and by a majority of the Representatives
entitled to sit on the Committee:
i. the adoption of recommendations to member states under Article 21.c;
ii. the adoption of recommendations for the amendments of Articles 1.b, 12, 21
and 26 of this Statute;
b. Questions arising under the Rules of Procedure or under the financial and
administrative regulations may be decided by a vote supported by a simple majority of the
Representatives entitled to sit on the Committee;
c. The following decisions shall require a vote supported by two-thirds of the
members casting a vote and by a majority of the Representatives entitled to sit on the
i. the adoption of resolutions;
ii. the adoption of recommendations for the amendment of articles of this Statute other
than those specified in paragraph a.ii above;
iii. the adoption of conventions, agreements and protocols and the opening thereof for
signature under Article 21.c;
decisions concerning the enlarged and partial agreements under Articles 21.e
a. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, meetings of the Committee of Ministers
shall be held:
i. in private; and
ii. at the seat of the Council.
b. The Committee shall decide what information shall be published regarding
discussions held in private.
c. The Committee shall meet at ministerial level at least twice a year, if
possible during a part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly. It shall also meet whenever
it sees fit.
Chapter V - Parliamentary Assembly
a. The Parliamentary Assembly is the deliberative organ of the Council of Europe.
It shall debate any matter relevant to the aim and falling within the competence of the
Council of Europe as defined in this Statute, in conventions concluded within the Council
of Europe or in resolutions and decisions adopted by the Committee of Ministers. It shall
also deliberate on any matter referred to it by the Committee of Ministers for an opinion.
It shall present its conclusions to the Committee of Ministers in the form of
recommendations and statutory opinions.
b. The Assembly shall draw up its agenda in accordance with the provisions of
paragraph a above.
The Parliamentary Assembly may, with due regard to the provisions of Article 49.e,
establish committees to consider and report to it on any matter which falls within its
competence under Article 28, to examine and prepare questions on its agenda and to advise
on all matters of procedure, and organise hearings and conferences.
The Parliamentary Assembly shall establish appropriate working relations and conclude,
if necessary, agreements to this effect with national parliaments and interparliamentary
assemblies. It may act as a parliamentary forum for other international organisations
possessing no parliamentary organ.
a. The Parliamentary Assembly shall consist of Representatives of each member,
elected by its parliament from among the members thereof, or appointed from among the
members of that parliament according to a procedure laid down by it and so as to reflect
the various currents of opinion within that parliament. Every Representative must have the
nationality of the member which he represents. A Representative may not be a member of the
government of the member state, nor a member of the European Court or Commission of Human
Rights or of any body set up under a convention.
b. The term of office of Representatives thus appointed shall date from the
opening of the first sitting of the Assembly or meeting of the Standing Committee
following submission of their credentials; it shall expire at the opening of the next
ordinary session or of a later ordinary session. However, following a general election, a
member parliament shall make new appointments within six months. Moreover, a parliament
may fill vacancies due to death or resignation. The term of office of the new
Representatives shall date from the first sitting of the Assembly or the Standing
Committee following their appointment.
c. Subject to the foregoing no Representative shall be deprived of his position
as such during a session of the Assembly without the agreement of the Assembly.
d. Each Representative may have a Substitute who may, in the absence of the
Representative, sit, speak and vote in his place. The provisions of paragraph a
above apply to the appointment of Substitutes.
The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the distribution of seats among member
states, having regard, inter alia, to their population figures and their gross
domestic product. Members shall be entitled to not more than eighteen and not fewer than
The Assembly may request the Committee of Ministers by every procedure at its disposal,
and particularly by interpellation or oral question with debate, to present its views
and/or to give explanations on any question falling within the Council of Europe's
The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the scope and procedure for such
investigations as it may deem necessary of matters falling within the Council of Europe's
The Parliamentary Assembly has a right of initiative in respect of conventions. The
Committee of Ministers shall submit to it all draft conventions, agreements and protocols
for approval prior to adoption. If necessary, the Secretary General shall report on the
implementation of these treaties to the Assembly which, in the event of non-compliance,
shall address recommendations to governments to the Committee of Ministers for the purpose
of remedying this. If the Assembly's recommendations are not accepted, the Committee of
Ministers shall give a reasoned reply.
In pursuance of its task of ensuring respect for human rights, the Parliamentary
Assembly may take, on the basis of the Statute, any action in its power in the event of a
flagrant human rights violation and may, if necessary, recommend implementation of the
control procedures provided for in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Secretary General shall communicate to the Parliamentary Assembly, at the same time
as to the Committee of Ministers, the Organisation's draft budget and draft
intergovernmental programme of activities.
a. The Parliamentary Assembly shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.
b. The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly shall determine inter alia:
i. the quorum;
ii. the manner of the election and terms of office of the President and other members of
iii. the manner in which the agenda shall be drawn up and communicated to
iv. the time and manner in which the names of Representatives and their Substitutes
shall be notified;
v. the membership of the Standing Committee which shall be responsible for ensuring
continuity of the Assembly's action and acting on its behalf between sessions;
arrangements concerning the political groups;
vii. the number of its committees and their fields of activity.
The following decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly, shall require a two-thirds
majority of the votes cast:
recommendations and statutory opinions addressed to the Committee of Ministers;
determining the date of commencement of its sessions;
iv. deciding to hold an extraordinary or part-session elsewhere than at the seat of the
determining what majority is required for decisions not covered by i to iv above or
determining cases of doubt as to what appropriate majority is required.
Other decisions shall be adopted by the majority determined by the Parliamentary
Assembly in its Rules of Procedure in application of Article 39.v.
The Parliamentary Assembly shall hold each year an ordinary session which may be
divided into several parts.
The Parliamentary Assembly may hold extraordinary sessions in accordance with Article
39. The Committee of Ministers may propose such a session.
Ordinary sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly shall be held at the seat of the
Council, unless the Assembly exceptionally decides otherwise, having due regard to the
provisions of Articles 39 and 49.e.
Unless the Parliamentary Assembly decides otherwise, its debates shall be conducted in
Chapter VI - Joint Committee
a. The Joint Committee is the structure of concertation and co-ordination between
the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Without prejudice to the competences of each of these two organs, the functions of the
Joint Committee should be, in particular:
i. to consider problems which are common to both organs;
ii. to draw attention to questions which appear to be of particular interest to the
Council of Europe, particularly the political aspects of European co-operation;
iii. to make proposals for the draft agenda of the sessions of the Committee of
Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.
b. The Joint Committee shall be composed of an equal number of members of the
Committee of Ministers and Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly, appointed in
accordance with its Rules of Procedure. It may hold meetings in restricted composition to
consider a particular question.
c. The Joint Committee shall meet as often as may be necessary. It shall meet at
least once a year at ministerial level.
d. The Joint Committee shall be chaired by the President of the Parliamentary
e. The Secretary General shall attend meetings of the Joint Committee.
f. The conclusions of the Joint Committee shall be reached without voting.
g. Subject to the above provisions, the Joint Committee may adopt its own Rules
Chapter VII - Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities
The Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities shall be the representative organ of
local and regional authorities. It shall address its recommendations to the Committee of
Ministers and to the Parliamentary Assembly, which shall consult it in appropriate cases.
The rules of operation of the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities shall be laid
down in a charter adopted by the Committee of Ministers, after obtaining the assent of the
The Chamber shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.
Chapter VIII - Secretariat
a. The Secretariat shall consist of a Secretary General, two Deputy Secretaries
General and such other staff as may be required. One of the Deputy Secretaries General
shall assist the Secretary General in all his duties except those relating to the
Assembly. The other Deputy Secretary General shall be the Clerk of the Assembly; he shall
be responsible for organising the Assembly's business and shall be accountable to its
b. The Secretary General and the Deputy Secretaries General shall be elected by
the Parliamentary Assembly in accordance with special regulations issued by agreement
between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly.
c. The remaining staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary
General, in accordance with the administrative regulations.
d. No member of the Secretariat shall hold any salaried office from any
government or be a member of the Parliamentary Assembly, of any other international
parliamentary institution, of any national legislature or engage in any occupation
incompatible with his duties.
e. In the performance of their duties the Secretary General and the staff shall
not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external
to the Organisation. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their
position as international officials responsible only to the Organisation.
Every member shall respect the exclusively international character of the
responsibilities of the Secretary General and the staff of the Secretariat and not seek to
influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
a. The Secretariat shall be located at the seat of the Council.
b. The Secretary General is responsible to the Committee of Ministers for the
work of the Secretariat. He reports on his action to the Assembly as necessary and at
least once a year.
c. The Secretary General shall provide such secretariat and other assistance as
the Parliamentary Assembly requires. The Parliamentary Assembly is served by the Office of
the Clerk under the authority of the Clerk.
Chapter IX - Finance
a. The Committee of Ministers shall adopt the annual budget of the Council of
Europe, subject to the opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly.
b. Each member shall bear the expenses of its own representation in the Committee
of Ministers, conferences of specialised ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the
Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities.
c. The expenses of the Secretariat and all other common expenses shall be shared
between all members in such proportions and according to such criteria as shall be
determined by the Committee, having due regard to the population and total gross domestic
product of members. Expenses incurred under partial or enlarged agreements shall be
charged exclusively to the states which are parties to the agreement.
The contributions of an associate member shall be determined by the Committee.
d. In accordance with the Financial Regulations, the budget of the Council shall
be submitted annually by the Secretary General for adoption by the Committee.
e. The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the amount of its expenditure, the
rate of growth being agreed between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly.
f. The Secretary General shall also submit to the Committee of Ministers an
estimate of the expenditure to which the implementation of each of the recommendations
presented to the Committee would give rise. Any resolution, the implementation of which
requires additional expenditure shall not be considered as adopted by the Committee of
Ministers unless the Committee has also approved the corresponding estimates for such
The Secretary General shall each year notify the government of each member of the
amount of its contribution; each member shall pay to the Organisation the amount of its
contribution, which shall be deemed to be due on the date of its notification, not later
than six months after that date.
Chapter X _ Privileges and immunities
a. The Council of Europe, Representatives of members and the Secretariat shall
enjoy, in the territories of its members, such privileges and immunities as are reasonably
necessary for the fulfilment of their functions. These immunities shall include immunity
for all Representatives and Substitutes to the Parliamentary Assembly from arrest and all
legal proceedings in the territories of all members, in respect of words spoken and votes
cast in the debates of the Assembly and its committees or other subordinate bodies.
b. The privileges and immunities shall be as defined by the General Agreement on
Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe of 2 September 1949 and by the
supplementary agreement and additional protocols. Every state which becomes a member shall
accede to the agreement, to the supplementary agreement and to the additional protocols.
The privileges and immunities enjoyed by the Council at its seat shall be as defined in
the special agreement concluded on 2 September 1949 with the government of the French
Chapter XI _ Amendments
Proposals for the amendment of this Statute may be made in the Committee of
Ministers or in the Parliamentary Assembly.
b. The Committee shall, after obtaining the assent of the Parliamentary Assembly,
recommend and cause to be embodied in a protocol those amendments which it considers to be
c. An amending protocol shall come into force when it has been signed and
ratified on behalf of two-thirds of the members.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraphs of this article,
amendments to Articles 5 to 10, 28 to 44, 45, 46, 49 and 50, which have been approved by
the Committee and by the Assembly, shall come into force on the date of the certificate of
the Secretary General, transmitted to the governments of members, certifying that they
have been so approved.
Chapter XII _ Final provisions
a. This revised Statute, will enter into force after the deposit of the
instruments of ratification by two-thirds of the member states with the Secretary General
of the Council of Europe. It will replace the Statute which entered into force on 3 August
b. Any further signatory shall become a party to this revised Statute as provided
for in Articles 4 and 5 above.
Assembly debate on 11May 1993 (32nd Sitting) (see Doc.
6788, report of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Rapporteur: Lord Finsberg).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 11May 1993 (32nd Sitting).