The Council of Europe and the European Union share the same fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – but are separate entities which perform different, yet complementary, roles.
Focusing on those core values, the Council of Europe brings together governments from across Europe – and beyond – to agree minimum legal standards in a wide range of areas. It then monitors how well countries apply the standards that they have chosen to sign up to. It also provides technical assistance, often working together with the European Union, to help them do so.
The European Union refers to those same European values as a key element of its deeper political and economic integration processes. It often builds upon Council of Europe standards when drawing up legal instruments and agreements which apply to its 28 member states. Furthermore, the European Union regularly refers to Council of Europe standards and monitoring work in its dealings with neighbouring countries, many of which are Council of Europe member states.
The Lisbon Treaty increased the scope for European Union action in many areas where the Council of Europe already has significant experience and expertise. This has led to increased cooperation on issues such as fighting human trafficking, the sexual exploitation of children and violence against women. It has also opened the way for the European Union itself to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights, and to other Council of Europe agreements.
Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union are set out in the:
- Compendium of Texts governing the relations between the Coucil of Europe and the European Union
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union
Moreover, the European Union participates in the various meetings of the Committee of Ministers.
PARTICIPATION AT COUNCIL OF EUROPE WORK
CONTRIBUTION TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE BUDGET
The actual Annual Receipts on EU contributions under Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Union, registered between 1 January and 31 December 2010, amounted to €20.1 million.
These accounted for 68% of all 2010 income from extrabudgetary contributions, confirming the EU as the major external contributor to CoE activities.