The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly elected its Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland (Norway), in 2009 for a five-year term; he is responsible for the strategic planning and direction of the Council of Europe’s work programme and budget and oversees the day-to-day management of the Organisation.
The Secretary General pinpoints priorities and draws up an Intergovernmental Work Programme annually for the approval of the Committee of Ministers. He is then responsible for implementing it with the help of the Secretariat. Intergovernmental co-operation programmes are co-ordinated primarily through directorates covering the Council of Europe’s main fields of activity.
A strategic plan of action
The Secretary General has outlined the Council of Europe’s priorities and strategies to build a new and united Europe based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law and to meet the challenges involved in building a peaceful and stable Europe.
Key priorities are:
working with member states to define the Council’s role and responsibilities and to give it a clear mandate;
strengthening democratic standards and ensuring that states respect them;
security and crime in member states, particularly corruption, money laundering, cybercrime, trafficking in human beings and drug trafficking;
specific programmes on human rights, democracy, refugees, social cohesion, culture and environmental issues;
new initiatives in the fight against international terrorism;
campaign against torture and degrading treatment;
action to combat racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia;
promoting equality and equal treatment regardless of sex, ethnicity, religious or political beliefs;
ensuring fair and equal treatment for all countries, regardless of size, wealth or geographical location;
building more effective relationships with the European Union, the United Nations, the OSCE and regional and non-governmental organisations;
evaluating the results of actions to improve the Council of Europe’s effectiveness and visibility.