Two organisations, one mission: enhancing the state of human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe and beyond


Over the past two decades, the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) have been working in close cooperation in pursuit of common goals promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and democracy at pan-European level and beyond.

The Council of Europe has a long-lasting experience in accompanying the reform processes of its member States from Eastern and South-East Europe, in order to allow them to comply with commitments originating from their membership to the Organisation. Together with the European Union, the Council of Europe has steered targeted cooperation programmes in the two regions facilitating their normative and institutional approximation to Council of Europe and EU standards.

Based on this successful joint work, the two organisations combined their efforts in 2012 to support the Southern Mediterranean region in the process of its democratic reforms, tackling primarily challenges related to human rights, the rule of law and democracy. The new partnership, which is anchored in their 2007 Memorandum of Understanding, also derives from the “Statement of Intent”, signed in April 2014 by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. Through the statement, the two organisations committed themselves to mobilising capacities and resources in the coordination and implementation of their policy goals in the region, namely the revised EU Neighbourhood Policy and the Council of Europe’s policy towards neighbouring regions which was reconfirmed in 2017.

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