Secretary General of the Council of Europe

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Secretary General of the
Council of Europe
Flag of Europe.svg
2020-10-20 Marija Pejčinović Burić.jpg
Marija Pejčinović Burić

since 18 September 2019; 2 years ago (2019-09-18)
AppointerParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Term lengthFive years
Inaugural holderJacques Camille Paris
DeputyGabriella Battaini-Dragoni

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe (French: Secrétaire général du Conseil de l'Europe) 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.

Secretaries General[edit]

Country Image 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.jpg Lodovico Benvenuti 19 September 1957 15 March 1964
 United Kingdom Peter Smithers 16 March 1964 15 September 1969
 Austria Dr. Lujo Tončić-Sorinj.jpeg 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 1980 (cropped).jpg Marcelino Oreja Aguirre 1 October 1984 1 June 1989
 France Catherine Lalumière 1981.png Catherine Lalumière 1 June 1989 31 May 1994
 Sweden Daniel Tarschys 1c379 6282.jpg Daniel Tarschys 1 June 1994 1 September 1999
 Austria Walter Schwimmer 2012.jpg Walter Schwimmer 1 September 1999 31 August 2004
 United Kingdom Terry Davis (3505786190) (3x4 crop).jpg Terry Davis 1 September 2004 31 August 2009
 Norway Thorbjorn Jagland.jpg Thorbjørn Jagland 1 October 2009 18 September 2019
 Croatia Marija Pejčinović Burić May 2017 (34176271013).jpg Marija Pejčinović Burić 18 September 2019 Present

Controversy around 2009 election[edit]

On 12 May 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.[citation needed] Coincidentally, both candidates were Prime Ministers at the same time (1996–1997) and both are social democrats. On 23 June 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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]

On 30 September 2009 Thorbjørn Jagland was elected as secretary-general.[4] On 24 June 2014 he was re-elected to a second, five-year term to start on 1 October 2014.[5]

2019 election[edit]

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[6] 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:

Selected by the Committee to be voted on by the Parliamentary Assembly:

The Parliamentary Assembly voted on the candidates on 26 June 2019


  1. ^ Judith Crosbie (June 23, 2009). "Council of Europe defers secretary-general vote". Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  2. ^ Smyth, Jamie (2009-05-12). "Council to battle Russia on Protocol 14". Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  3. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Thorbjørn Jagland re-elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe".
  6. ^ "Election of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe: Candidatures received". Council of Europe. 11 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Didier Reynders stelt zich kandidaat als secretaris-generaal van Raad van Europa". VRTNWS. 7 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Lithuanian govt nominates Kubilius for Council of Europe's secgen". Baltic Times. 27 December 2018.

External links[edit]