Strasbourg is not only European capital of Alsace, but also the seventh largest city in France. It is a young city, for students and tourists, providing a perfect balance between historical and economic dynamism
Like many large cities also Strasbourg districts, each with its own identity, closely related to their history and residents. Until the 19th century the city reached no further than Old Town post
The Council of Europe principally aims at defending human rights and parliamentary democracy
Strasbourg is a host for several European institutions. One of them is Council of Europe. It is the oldest international organization working towards European integration, founded in 1949. It is emphasis on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of low. Council has 47 members states with some 800 million people. English and French are official languages,
In 1949, Strasbourg was chosen - as the symbol of the Franco-German reconciliation - to host the Council of Europe, the oldest (founded in 1948) European inter-governmental organisation and the one who reunites the largest number of countries (45 in 2007).
The Council of Europe is completely independant from the European Union (even if they collaborate in some domains and if all the 27 member states of the EU are members of the CE).
The Council of Europe mainly deals with defending human rights (the European Court for the Human Rights depends from the CE) and parliamentary democracy, while the EU is a more economical/political entity.
The Council of Europe is the most visited European institution, you have the choice between 2 types of organised tours :
- those aimed at groups of schoolchildren and visitors wanting general informations: they feature a film show about the CE history and activities, a visit to the CE’s assembly's chamber (if there is no session at this time) followed by a discussion on the Council of Europe’s role and how it works.
- more specialised visits are organised for those - teachers, lawyers, students in higher education, etc – looking for detailed information (during assembly sessions those visitors can attend a debate in the chamber).
For more infos about how/when to visit :
The Council of Europe has 46 member states, and its purpose is to promote democracy, human rights and European integration.
One small part of their work (the only part I know much about, actually, since I often have to explain it when I do presentations) is the development of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
This Framework is intended to provide "a basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications, thus facilitating educational and occupational mobility.” It is a system of carefully defined levels of competence, so that when people have taken a course or passed an examination in any European language, everyone else can understand what level it is and what the person is capable of doing in that language.
Second photo: The Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.