On 5 May 1949, in London, ten countries sign the Statute of the Council of Europe which aims to establish European cooperation in the political, economic, social, cultural, scientific, legal and administrative spheres. The Statute enters into force on 3 August 1949.
On 11 May 2007, the accession of Montenegro to the Council of Europe brings the number of Member States in the organisation to 47. The photo shows Milan Rocen, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Montenegro, signing the instrument of accession to the Statute of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in the presence of the organisation’s Secretary General, Terry Davis.
Extract from the minutes of the Conference on the establishment of a Council of Europe, held at St James’s Palace in London from 3 to 5 May 1949, concerning the issue of the admission of additional members to the organisation.
On 5 May 1949, at the ceremony held to mark the signing of the Statute of the Council of Europe at St James’s Palace in London, representatives from the governments of the ten founding States of the Council of Europe make statements in alphabetical order of the countries that they represent.
On 11 May 1989, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decides to create a special guest status for the national legislative assemblies of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs).
On 14 May 1993, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopts Statutory Resolution (93) 26 on Observer Status. This status entitles those non-European states in particular that are willing to accept the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, to send observers to attend meetings of certain committees of experts within the organisation.
On 4 October 1994, the Parliamentary Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers define the limits of the enlargement of the Council of Europe, whilst taking into account a set of guiding principles.
As a reply to Recommendation 1247 (1994) of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopts on 21 February 1995 a communication in which it reaffirms the organisation’s priority to conclude and consolidate the enlargement process regarding those European States freed from communism, according to the pace of their democratic development.
Following its accession to the Council of Europe on 25 January 2001, Azerbaijan has been investigated, with particular regard to inquiries concerning political prisoners. In August 2003, the German monthly Europäische Zeitung devotes a page to a country that, by not respecting its undertakings, may well be expelled from the organisation.
On 18 July 2002, the daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort reports on the fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan and Georgia undertaken by the Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Lydie Polfer, organised as part of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in order to assess the democratic progress made in the countries of the southern Caucasus which recently acceded to the organisation.
On 5 March 2004, the French daily newspaper Le Monde reports on the decision taken by the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to advise the Assembly to close the monitoring procedure regarding Turkey, which was begun in 1996, because of the democratic reforms that have taken place in the country over the past two years.
The conditions for accession. The example of Spain
On 25 September 1974, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe observes with regret that Spain is still a long way from meeting the conditions necessary for full membership of the Council of Europe, as she has no democratic and representative institutions.
Following the end of the Franco regime in 1975, democratic elections to the Spanish Cortes take place on 15 June 1977. On 12 October 1977, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite Spain to join the organisation without delay.
On 24 November 1977, in Strasbourg, Marcelino Oreja, Spanish Foreign Minister (left), signs Spain’s instrument of accession to the Council of Europe. On his right, Georg Kahn-Ackermann, Secretary-General of the organisation.
Marcelino Oreja, Spanish Foreign Minister from 1976 to 1980 and Secretary-General of the Council of Europe from 1984 to 1989, outlines the reasons that led him to promote Spain’s accession to the Council of Europe in 1977.
Miguel Ángel Martínez, a Spanish Member of Parliament elected during the first democratic elections since the fall of the dictatorship in 1977 and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1992 to 1996, outlines the fundamental role played by the Council of Europe in the recovery of democracy and liberty in Spain.
Following the military coup in 1967 that installed the ‘Greek colonels’ regime’, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe decides to recommend to the Committee of Ministers, at the latest in the spring of 1969, that Greece should be suspended or expelled from the Council of Europe if, by then, an acceptable parliamentary democracy has not been restored in that country.
In this text, adopted on 30 January 1969, the Consultative Assembly, bearing in mind that the present Greek regime is in serious breach of the conditions for membership of the Council of Europe set out in Article 3 of the Statute, declares that Greece should consider its withdrawal in accordance with Article 7 and recommends that the Committee of Ministers take the appropriate measures laid down in Article 8 of the Statute.
Having had interstate applications from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands against Greece lodged with it in September 1967, the European Commission for Human Rights transmits in November 1969 a report to the Committee of Ministers on the violation by the Greek Government of several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. Agreeing with the opinion of the Commission, and despite the denunciation of the Convention by Greece, the Committee of Ministers decides on 15 April 1970 that the respondent Government has violated the Convention.
Resolution (70) 34 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, dated 27 November 1970, on the legal and financial consequences of the withdrawal of Greece from the organisation. The Government of Greece having notified the withdrawal on 12 December 1969, it takes effect on 31 December 1970.
In this memorandum dated 14 October 1974, the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe, having regard to the readmission of Greece to the organisation, recalls the stages of the procedure of admission to be followed by the organs of the Council of Europe, and examines the legal consequences of such an admission, in particular Greece's position in respect of the conventions and agreements concluded before its withdrawal.
In 1974, following the decision of the Greek Government to hold free elections by universal suffrage after the fall of the ‘Greek colonels’ regime’, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe envisages inviting Greece to resume its place in the organisation and instructs the Secretary-General to submit a report that includes a draft invitation.
Au lendemain de l'adhésion de Monaco au Conseil de l'Europe le 5 octobre 2004, le quotidien luxembourgeois Tageblatt souligne les efforts supplémentaires déployés par les autorités monégasques pour que leur pays soit accepté au sein de l'organisation en tant qu'État démocratique et souverain au même titre que d'autres micro-États tels le Liechtenstein, Saint-Marin ou l'Andorre.
The day after Monaco’s accession to the Council of Europe on 5 October 2004, the daily newspaper Lëtzebuerger Journal sets out the political conditions that the country had to meet in order to be admitted to the organisation, following six years of negotiations, as a democratic and sovereign State.
On 5 October 2004 in Strasbourg, the Head of State of Monaco, Prince Albert II, signs the instrument of accession to the Statute of the Council of Europe in the presence of the organisation’s Secretary General, Terry Davis.