Holy See (Vatican)

Saint Peter - Copyright: Marcus Wandinger #copyright# Copyright Marcus WandingerCopyright Marcus Wandinger

The Holy See is the governing institution of the Catholic Church. The Pope is the head of both the Vatican City State - a sovereign, independent territory - and the Holy See. The Holy See is a sovereign entity under international law, conducting its own international policy and maintaining diplomatic relations with 179 states around the world. It is especially active in international organisations, with permanent observer status at the United Nations (UN) and in many other UN agencies.

The Holy See and the EU established diplomatic relations in 1970. The first Head of EU Delegation to the Holy See was appointed in 2006.

A number of European and global issues are of concern to the Holy See, including:

  • European values and identity
  • Dialogue between cultures and religions
  • Poverty and development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Conflict prevention and resolution
  • Human rights, in particular freedom of religion and belief


The EU has concluded a Revised Monetary Agreement with the Vatican City State on the use of the euro as its official currency. The Vatican also has a preferential customs arrangement with the EU on the basis of an agreement between the Vatican and Italy.

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