The Secretariat of the Council of Europe
On behalf of the Committee of Ministers and under the aegis of the various Council of Europe bodies, more than 2’000 in part highly specialised professionals from all member states draft, organise, coordinate and oversee all activities of the organisation.
The Secretariat is divided into three Directorates-General:
- Directorate-General I (Human Rights and Rule of Law)
- Directorate-General II (Democracy)
- Directorate-General DGA (Administration)
Unlike the Permanent Representatives of the Committee of Ministers and the diplomats under their authority, who only work in Strassburg for a couple of years, before they are posted to a different job in a different country, the officials in the Secretariat of the Council of Europe remain at the organisation.
Some of the executive staff members have been working for the Council of Europe for decades: They not only know the organisation inside out and exert considerable influence on it, but also bring valuable expertise to the table and preserve the institutional memory.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe
The Secretary General is the public figurehead of the Council of Europe. He heads the secretariat and is – on behalf of the Committee of Ministers – responsible for the overall coordination, the strategic planning, the work programme and the budget of the organisation.
The Secretary General is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for a once renewable five-year term of office.
The current Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland (Norway), was elected in 2009 and confirmed for a second term of office in 2014.
In 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) reelected her for a five year term of office.
Illustration and Photos @ CoE; Agora @Sir Robin Photography