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The Council of Europe's Relations with the European Union
The Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) have a long tradition of co-operation which draws on their shared values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Each benefits from the other’s respective strengths and comparative advantages, competences and expertise, whilst avoiding unnecessary duplication.
The European Union is the Council of Europe’s most important institutional partner at both political and technical levels. Co-operation embraces all sectors of the Council of Europe and a wide spectrum of activities, making the European Union an “across the board” partner.
To quote Jean-Claude Juncker, “the Council of Europe and the European Union were products of the same idea, the same spirit and the same ambition. They mobilised the energy and commitment of the same founding fathers of Europe.” Since the creation of the European Community, the forerunner of the European Union, co-operation between the two organisations has been very intense.
The 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union is currently governed by the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations. The MoU confirms the role of the Council of Europe as the benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe, stipulates the need for coherence between the two Organisations’ legal norms in the fields of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encourages the Council of Europe and the European Union to work together even more closely in the future.
A strategic partnership
In practice, the strategic partnership, which has developed in recent years, has been further strengthened through its three pillars: political dialogue, legal co-operation and co-operation projects.
With a view to coordinating positions and policies on geographical and thematic issues, high-level consultations are organised with, in particular, the President of the European Commission, the First Vice-President, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission and other Members of the European Commission, the President of the Council of the European Union and the President and other Members of the European Parliament.
Inter-institutional contacts are maintained with a view to furthering synergies between the EU and Council of Europe monitoring and advisory bodies, and between Council of Europe standards and EU legislation. This also applies to EU candidate and potential candidate countries, as well as the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy countries, on which the EU calls upon to draw on Council of Europe expertise.
Numerous joint programmes to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and to address education, youth issues, and social affairs, are implemented. These Joint Programmes represent the largest source of funding sustaining Council of Europe technical assistance and co-operation projects in support of democratic stability. The global financial volume of contracts being implemented in 2014 reached € 88.5 million, of which the EU’s contribution amounted to € 75.8 million (86%), and that of the Council of Europe to € 12.7 million (14%).
The Liaison Office of the Council of Europe to the European Union in Brussels and the Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg ensure the best possible coordination of the cooperation between the two organisations.
· Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union (2007)
· Council of Europe - European Union: "A sole ambition for the European continent" - Report by Jean-Claude Juncker (2006)
· Compendium of texts governing the relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union (2001)
· Agreement on co-operation between the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe (2008)
"The impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Council of Europe"- Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1982(2011) -Reply adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 28 march 2012 at the 1138th meeting of the Ministers'Deputies
Decision on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union- Summary Report, 16 November 2011
29th quadripartite meeting (27 October 2009)
28th quadripartite meeting (11 May 2009)
26th quadripartite meeting (10 March 2008)
25th quadripartite meeting (23 October 2007)
24th quadripartite meeting (12 February 2007)
Decisions of the Committee of Ministers on Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union, adopted on 11 May 2010 (120th Ministerial Session)
Liaison Office of the Council of Europe with the European Union
European Union website
Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe
 “Council of Europe-European Union : as le ambition for the European continent”, Jean-Claude Juncker, April 2006