The European Union is a main political and financial partner of the CoE's co-operation activities. A very close partnership has been built up over more than two decades in supporting activities founded on common values and goals which advance democratic governance, human rights, democracy and rule of law in Europe and beyond. The strategic approach to this partnership was recently strengthened by the signature of the “Statement of intent for the cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the EU enlargement region and the Eastern Partnership and Southern Mediterranean countries (EU neighbourhood region)” in April 2014.
The Council of Europe and the European Commission have signed 3-year cooperation agreements to promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
An agreement worth €33.8 million (2015-2017) funds joint programmes in countries covered by the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. This agreement was signed by the Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and Director, Michael Köhler of the European Commission in Brussels on 18 December 2014.
Another EU-CoE Joint Programme “Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean” worth € 7.4 million (2015-17) was signed a few days later on 22 December 2014.
These cooperation agreements reflect the positive results which have been achieved through joint programmes in recent years. The closer partnership is also reflected in new working methods, including the EU entrusting the Council of Europe with the implementation of programmes through a direct delegation of parts of its budget rather than according specific programme grants.