When founded on 5 May 1949, the Council of Europe was the first post-war political organisation in Europe. Its core mandate is the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law across the entire European continent. Comprising 47 member states, all European countries – except for Belarus and Kosovo – are part of the organisation, including the 27 member states of the European Union, Russia, Turkey and the Caucasian Republics. With the end of the cold war, the formerly exclusive 'club of democracies' developed into the only pan-European organisation. Five states enjoy observer status: USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the Holy See. Germany became a member on 13 July 1950. The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg (France).