The Council of Europe (CoE; French: Conseil de l'Europe) is a regional intergovernmental organization promoting co-operation between European countries in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. It was founded in 1949 and has ? member states with ? ?illion citizens. The organization is an independent body, and is not controlled by the European Economic Community, which is a separate organization it is sometimes confused with. Unlike the EEC, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws.
The best known bodies of the Council of Europe are the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Pharmacopoeia Commission, which sets the quality standards for pharmaceutical products in Europe. The Council of Europe's work has resulted in standards, charters and conventions to facilitate cooperation between European countries as an advisory body.
Its statutory institutions are the Committee of Ministers comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, the Parliamentary Assembly composed of MPs from the parliament of each member state, and the Secretary General heading the secretariat of the Council of Europe. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the member states.
The headquarters of the Council of Europe are in Strasbourg, France, with English and French as its two official languages. The Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress also use German, Italian, and Russian for some of their work.