The Council of Europe's relations with the European Union

The Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) have a long tradition of co-operation which draws on their shared values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Each benefits from the other’s respective strengths and comparative advantages, competences and expertise, whilst avoiding unnecessary duplication.

The European Union is the Council of Europe’s most important institutional partner at both political and technical levels. Co-operation embraces all sectors of the Council of Europe and a wide spectrum of activities, making the European Union an “across the board” partner.

 To quote Jean-Claude Juncker, “the Council of Europe and the European Union were products of the same idea, the same spirit and the same ambition. They mobilised the energy and commitment of the same founding fathers of Europe[1].” Since the creation of the European Community, the forerunner of the European Union, co-operation between the two organisations has been very intense. Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union is currently governed by the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations. The MoU 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 Organisations’ 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.

A dedicated webpage explains into detail the EU-CoE joint work.