A co-operation agreement was signed in 2005 by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Committee of the Regions of the European Union. The fields of interest and methods of co-operation of the two institutions were formalised in 2009, on the basis of the more general memorandum of understanding concluded in 2007 between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
The cooperation agreement reaffirms, in particular, the principle of complementarity between the Congress and the Committee of the Regions, as well as mutual respect for their skills. The political direction of this cooperation, as well as its major themes, are agreed once per year at a meeting of the Secretaries General of the Congress and the CoR.
Contact Group Congress/Committee of the Regions
The Contact Group Congress / Committee of the Region is composed of six members of each institution and meets at least twice a year. Other members of the Committee of the Regions and of the Congress can be associated with the Contact Group meetings as observers. The presidency of the Contact Group rotates every two years between the two institutions. On the basis of the thematic and political priorities for cooperation established by the Presidents and the Secretaries General, the Contact Group defines annually the common activities. More specific activities can be added by the Contact Group to meet new needs or take account of changes in circumstances.
Different forms of co-operation
Local election observation missions carried out by the Congress have been open to members of the Committee of the Regions since 2006. Congress observation delegations now systematically include members of the Committee of the Regions - who are involved throughout the observation process.
Inter-regional cooperation in the Black Sea area, multilevel governance and local and regional democracy in "Eastern Partnership" countries have also been the subject of consultative meetings between the two organisations.
Countering corruption at the level of local and regional administrations is also a common priority - an activity first launched at a joint Conference in Messina (Italy) in May 2010.