Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe
EPA is a participatory member of the Council of Europe´s Conference of INGOs and is represented by Valerie Gardette.
This Council is Europe`s leading human rights organisation, and recognises that independent non-governmental organisations are a vital component of European society, guaranteeing freedom of expression and association both of which are fundamental to democracy.
The Council of Europe has had working relations with non-governmental organisations since 1952 when it introduced a consultative status for INGOs. This status was changed from consultative to participatory in 2003 and since 2016, the status is regulated by Resolution (2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Resolution sets out the rules for the granting of participatory status to INGOs, gives more information on the background of the status, what it represents, the conditions to be met by INGOs and the possibilities it gives to INGOs to co-operate with the Council of Europe.
The INGOs enjoying participatory status form the Conference of INGOs which represents civil society at the Council of Europe and works to promote participatory democracy. The Conference meets in its General Assembly twice a year and works in committees on priority themes of the Council of Europe.