The Council of Europe and the European Union
The Council of Europe and the European Union: different roles, shared values
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:
Council of Europe treaties
Treaties ratified and/or signed by the European Union
Partial Agreements of which the European Union is a member or is represented with a special status.
Council of Europe committees
Council of Europe Intergovernmental Committees of which the European Union may send representatives to the meetings (but has no right to vote or defrayal of expenses)
Moreover, the European Union participates in the various meetings of the Committee of Ministers.
Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights
The accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights constitutes a major step in the development of human rights in Europe. Discussed since the late 1970s, the accession became a legal obligation under the Treaty of Lisbon.
Although the European Union is not yet a Party to the European Convention on Human Rights and its acts cannot as such be the subject of applications to the European Court of Human Rights (the Court), the issues relating to Community law have been raised regularly with the Court and the former European Commission of Human Rights.
- European Union accession to the European Convention on Human Rights - Questions and Answers
- Website of the Informal Group on Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (CDDH-UE)
- Report of the Parliamentary Assembly "The impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Council of Europe"
- The European Union and Human Rights
- Factsheet on case-law concerning the European Union
Secretary General: countries and international organisations must work together to tackle today’s challenges
Death Penalty Day: EU/Council of Europe joint statement
EU becomes observer to anti-corruption body GRECO
The European Union and the Council of Europe to strengthen their support for good governance in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood
Eastern Partnership: Council of Europe and EU present joint project results
EU and Council of Europe should combine strengths in a ‘strategic partnership', said Commissioner Hahn
Celebrating 10 years of stronger Council of Europe/EU relations
European Day against the Death Penalty: Council of Europe/EU confirm their strong opposition to capital punishment
Independent experts: positive evaluation of Council of Europe/European Commission programmes for Roma
EU and Council of Europe introduce project to promote global development education
The Annual Receipts on EU contributions under Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Union in 2019, amounted to €206.1 million. Co-funded by EU at 85%, by CoE at 15%
29 new Joint Programmes negotiated in 2019 for a total of €111.7 million.
Interview with Jari Vilén "The challenge of migration into the European Union"
Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY), video report on a joint project between the Council of Europe and the European Union