Tuesday, August 12, 2014

France 16.10.1976 – 25th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

France commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the Council of Europe in 1976 with a set of four impressive stamps. This FDC displays the 100f stamp depicting the Council Flag.

The European flag is the symbol not only of the European Union but also of Europe's unity and identity in a wider sense. The European flag consists of 12 golden stars in a circle on a blue background. The stars symbolise the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of member countries, though the circle is a symbol of unity.The history of the flag goes back to 1955. The Council of Europe - defending human rights and promoting European culture – adopted the present design for its own use. Over the following years the Council of Europe encouraged the emerging European institutions to adopt the flag as well.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation. It was founded in 1949, has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens, and is an entirely separate body from the European Union (EU), which has 28 member states. Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws. The two do however share certain symbols such as the flag and the anthem.

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.

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.

Thank you Maria.

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