Since 2012, the partnership established between the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Southern Mediterranean countries in the frame of the South Programme has enabled to support the process of democratic reform in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood, whilst meeting the demand of partner countries in the region. This support is built around legislative expertise in the areas of competence of the Council of Europe, institutional capacity building and regional co-operation around the universal values ​​of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, which are at the heart of the mandate of the Council of Europe, the oldest international organisation in Europe.

The South Programme is underpinned by the European Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union as well as by the Council of Europe's policy towards its neighbouring regions. The latter provides, on one hand, a framework for political dialogue between the countries concerned and the Council of Europe and, on the other, a framework for co-operation activities between partner countries from the region and the Council of Europe, also aligned with other partners and international donors’ activities