While the mandate of the Council of Europe is and will remain, geographically focused on Europe, many of its priority activities, including most of its key recent conventions, aim to extend cooperation also beyond the borders of the European continent.

Moreover, many of the core issues under the Council of Europe mandate are being influenced by developments outside Europe, and notably in our immediate neighbourhood, in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The 2011 events and the ongoing situation in countries around the Southern rim of the Mediterranean offer a unique historic opportunity for the people of the region to transform their current political systems into genuine democracies. These developments are reinforcing the need for a review of our existing relations and policies with our neighbours and for the definition of clear strategic priorities about the way these relationships should develop in the future.

Accordingly, any such strategy, while being clear on our priority objectives, will have to be flexible and allow for the implementation to be tailored to specific national situations. The approach will take into account differences in political situation, the state of existing relations, geographic proximity and other parameters influencing the modalities and intensity of future relations.

Finally, we should bear in mind the fact that the political changes which are taking place in several countries in the region are home-grown and spontaneous. This is a very important element of legitimacy and lasting popular support.


  • To facilitate democratic political transition (constitutional process, electoral legislation, organisation and observation of elections).
  • To help to promote good governance in the countries in the Council of Europe neighbourhood, on the basis of the relevant Council of Europe standards, mechanisms and instruments (independence and functioning of the judiciary, fight against corruption, money laundering, etc.).
  • To reinforce and enlarge the Council of Europe regional action in combating trans-border and global threats such as trafficking in human beings, cybercrime, organised crime, terrorism, etc.


 CoE policy towards Neighbouring regions