The Committee of Ministers meets only once a year for a plenary session. During the rest of the year, the Foreign Ministers – who constitute the Committee of Ministers – are represented in Strassburg by their ambassadors.
These ambassadors are, therefore, called Permanent Representatives, and the Embassies of the Council of Europe member states in Strassburg are Permanent Representations.
A Permanent Representation acts as a link between the government of the respective member state and the Council of Europe. Under the ambassador’s authority, it typically includes several diplomats as well as administrative staff.
Permanent Representations are located in the territory of an organisation’s host country – France, in the case of the Council of Europe – and their status is that of an Embassy. Since their work is done within the framework of an Intergovernmental Organisation, however, the term Permanent Representation is used, and the Permanent Representatives heading them are not accredited to France but to the Council of Europe.
Photo @ Stéfanie Trautweiler