|Secretary General of the |
Council of Europe
|Appointer||Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe|
|Term length||Five years|
|Inaugural holder||Jacques Camille Paris|
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe (French: Secrétaire général du Conseil de l'Europe, German: Generalsekretär des Europarates) is appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly on the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers for a period of five years. He or she is entrusted with the responsibility of meeting the aim for which the Council of Europe was set up in London on 5 May 1949, namely to achieve greater unity between its Member States for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress.
Although the Secretary General's powers are not clearly defined, in practice the holder has overall responsibility for the strategic management of the Council of Europe’s work programme and budget and oversees the day-to-day running of the Organisation and Secretariat.
|Country||Secretary||Took office||Left office|
|France||Jacques Camille Paris||11 August 1949||17 July 1953|
|France||Léon Marchal||21 September 1953||24 September 1956|
|Italy||Lodovico Benvenuti||19 September 1957||15 March 1964|
|United Kingdom||Peter Smithers||16 March 1964||15 September 1969|
|Austria||Lujo Tončić-Sorinj||16 September 1969||16 September 1974|
|West Germany||Georg Kahn-Ackermann||17 September 1974||17 September 1979|
|Austria||Franz Karasek||1 October 1979||1 October 1984|
|Spain||Marcelino Oreja Aguirre||1 October 1984||1 June 1989|
|France||Catherine Lalumière||1 June 1989||31 May 1994|
|Sweden||Daniel Tarschys||1 June 1994||1 September 1999|
|Austria||Walter Schwimmer||1 September 1999||31 August 2004|
|United Kingdom||Terry Davis||1 September 2004||31 August 2009|
|Norway||Thorbjørn Jagland||1 October 2009||18 September 2019|
|Croatia||Marija Pejčinović Burić||18 September 2019||Present|
Controversy around 2009 election
On May 12, 2009 the Committee of Ministers informed the Parliamentary Assembly that there would be only two candidates for the post of Secretary General: Thorbjørn Jagland (former Prime Minister of Norway) and Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (former Prime Minister of Poland), thus rejecting a Belgian appeal to add two more people to the list of the candidates. Coincidentally, both candidates were Prime Ministers at the same time (1996–1997) and both are social democrats. On June 23, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly decided to postpone the election at least until its September session, thus leaving the chair empty from 1 September 2009.
The Parliamentary Assembly was angered by the decision of the Committee of Ministers to remove two of the four candidates from the shortlist: Belgian senator Luc Van den Brande and Hungarian parliamentarian Mátyás Eörsi, who are both members of the Parliamentary Assembly. On 11 September 2009, reporting on the election controversy, Le Monde reported that the future Secretary General would inherit an institution that was in crisis.
Four member states proposed candidates by 10 January 2019, who were then considered by the Committee of Ministers. Among them, the two who were selected to progress to be voted on by the Parliamentary Assembly were Belgium's foreign minister Didier Reynders and Croatia's foreign minister Marija Pejčinović Burić. Pejčinvoić Burić was elected by a margin of 54 votes and will take office on 15 October 2019.
Nominated for consideration by the Committee of Ministers:
- Didier Reynders (Belgium)
- Andrius Kubilius (Lithuania)
- Dora Bakoyannis (Greece)
- Marija Pejčinović Burić (Croatia)
Selected by the Committee to be voted on by the Parliamentary Assembly:
The Parliamentary Assembly voted on the candidates on 26 June 2019
- Judith Crosbie (June 23, 2009). "Council of Europe defers secretary-general vote". EuropeanVoice.com. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
- Smyth, Jamie (2009-05-12). "Council to battle Russia on Protocol 14". Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Smolar, Piotr (2009-09-11). "Le futur secrétaire général du Conseil de l'Europe héritera d'une institution en crise". Le Monde. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "THORBJORN JAGLAND ELECTED SECRETARY GENERAL OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE". panorama.am. 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- "Election of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe: Candidatures received". Council of Europe. 11 January 2019.
- "Didier Reynders stelt zich kandidaat als secretaris-generaal van Raad van Europa". VRTNWS. 7 January 2019.
- "Lithuanian govt nominates Kubilius for Council of Europe's secgen". Baltic Times. 27 December 2018.