Cooperation with International Institutions and Civil Society
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Human Rights Development

Human Rights and business

  Human Rights in culturally diverse societies

Human rights of older persons


Accession EU to the ECHR


 Meeting reports

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External relations

  Cooperation with international partners


Other Topics

  Death Penalty


  Armed forces,
Conscientious objection


  Article 52

  Fighting Impunity

  Human Rights
Development (DH-DEV)


European Union

The Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2007 between the Council of Europe and the European Union provides a new framework for the co-operation between the two Organisations. It 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 Organisationsí 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.

The Memorandum of Understanding  also sets out common priorities and focus areas for cooperation (see in particular paragraphs 14 to 21) mentioning, inter alia, the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Council of Europeís human rights standards often serve as a reference, (even through the Charter of Fundamental Rights) in relevant European Union activities and are reflected and referred to in European Union legislation, sometimes directly. References to Council of Europe human rights instruments also appear in agreements elaborated between the European Union and third countries.

The Human Rights Law and Policy Division is in particular involved in the coordination of the contributions whenever the Council of Europe is consulted on new EU legislation having a bearing on Human rights.

Early consultations take place in the preparation of European Union legislation having particular impact on fundamental rights. This is the case, for instance, of the Roadmap on procedural rights of suspects and accused persons and of the measures contained therein, on which the Council of Europe was consulted on several occasions by the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament (see for instance the Opinion of the Council of Europe on the draft directive on the right to access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest).

The Human Rights Law and Policy Division also assured the secretariat of the informal working group on the Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (CDDH-UE) which elaborated, in cooperation with the European Commission, the draft legal instruments for the accession of the EU to the Convention.

The Division also coordinates the relations with the European Union concerning the preparation of the European Days against Death Penalty, every 10 October.