The Council of Europe (CoE; Conseil de l'Europe, CdE) is an international organisation established in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it brings together 46 member states, with a population of approximately 675 million; it operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.
The organisation is distinct from the European Union (EU), although people sometimes confuse the two organisations - partly because the EU has adopted the original European flag, designed for the Council of Europe in 1955, as well as the European anthem. No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is an official United Nations Observer.
As an international organisation, the Council of Europe cannot make laws, but it does have the ability to push for the enforcement of select international agreements reached by member states on various topics. The best-known bo