European Union External Action

10 Years of the EU - Council of Europe Memorandum of Understanding

28/11/2016 - 00:00
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Celebrating the upcoming anniversary of the document which defines the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union, the Heads of the Council of Europe and the European External Action Service met in Strasbourg to dicuss the future of cooperation.




On the 23rd of November 2016, the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe held an historic event to mark the opening of celebrations of the 10-year anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union and the Council of Europe. Both Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland and High Representative / Vice President of the European Union Federica Mogherini spoke in favour of contenting the close relations between these two giants of internationalism.

Opening the event, and noting the Memorandum’s reference to the Council of Europe as the benchmark for Human Rights matters in the continent, Ambassador Jari Vilen spoke of the dire need for continued cooperation between the two institutions.

Secretary General Jagland underlined the €200 million in contributions the EU has made to the Council of Europe in the past 10 years since the signing of the memorandum, as a sign of the Council of Europe’s use to the EU. Calling for unity faced with an increasingly populist world, he praised the Memorandum as the foundation of a partnership that could and should go further together, and raised the prospect of the EU’s adhesion to the Istanbul Convention, being debated only doors away in the European Parliament at that very moment.

HRVP Mogherini for her part declared the Council of Europe to be a bastion of the modern rules-based world order, one of the many institutions that provides a much-needed global framework of rules and norms. She highlighted the work of the Venice Commission in aiding democratic transition and reforms, as well as the Council’s key role in keeping dialogue open with post-coup Turkey.

Noting the context of the past year’s upheavals in his closing remarks, Ambassador Jari Vilen, cited the famous “First they came…” poem by Pastor Nimöller, and highlighted the continuing importance of respect for Human Rights in Europe.

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