Since 1992, the EU and the Council of Europe have implemented over 180 in areas such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law in countries bordering the EU. The two organisations also work together on issues such as intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity.
The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental consultative organisation. Founded in 1949, it seeks to ensure that fundamental values such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law are respected throughout Europe. It is thus Europe’s oldest 'watchdog' on human rights – a priority that remains one of the key areas of collaboration [62 KB] between it and the EU.
The Council has 47 member countries and represents 800 million people, thus covering almost the entire European continent. All 27 EU countries are members.
The framework for the relationship between the two bodies was defined during several exchanges of letters between the two organisations. Today, high level meetings – called Quadripartite meetings – are held twice a year. There, the EU Presidency, the European Commission, the Chairman and Secretary General of the Council of Europe exchange information and views on their programmes, mutual interests and joint activities.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007 confirms that the Council of Europe is the benchmark in Europe for human rights, the rule of law and democracy. It also underlines the need for coherence between the legal norms of both organisations in the field of human rights.