The 39th Member of the Council of Europe

Author: Yu. Ushakov

30 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

The 39th Member of the Council of Europe

Yu. Ushakov

The story of our relations with the Council of Europe is rather complicated and the country's broad public did not know until recently much about this organization and what it does.

The Council of Europe (CE) was founded on May 5, 1949, by ten states: Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The founding countries were subsequently joined by Greece and Turkey (1949), Iceland and Germany (1950), Austria (1956), Cyprus (1961), Switzerland (1963), Malta (1965), Portugal (1976), Spain (1977), Liechtenstein (1978), San Marino (1988), Finland (189), Hungary (1990), Poland (1991), Bulgaria (1992), Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Rumania (1993), Andorra (1994), Albania, Latvia. Macedonia, Moldova, and Ukraine (1995), and Russia (1996). The Council of Europe has now turned from a virtually exclusive West European club into one of the continent's most authoritative and representative organizations of 39 members.

Candidates for joining it are Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. Azerbaijan and Georgia have applied for membership.

The CE's founding documents proclaim as the organization's main objectives cooperation in the interests of protection and strengthening of pluralistic democracy, the fundamental freedoms and human rights, promotion of genuine European cultural identity, and cooperation in solving problems of primarily humanitarian, legal and socioeconomic nature facing the European community. The sphere of competence includes the most varied areas: human rights, mass media, jurisprudence, health, education, culture, sport, youth problems, local and regional government, environmental protection, social security, and problems of national minorities.

The range of questions tackled by the European Union (EU) is constantly changing, depending on the situation. For example, a body created within the framework of the EU in the mid-1980's was devoted to cooperation in fighting drug abuse (the Pompidou Group). Similar efforts are aimed at fighting money laundering, illegal financial ...

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