In the past few years, the two organisations have been able to achieve greater efficiency while avoiding unnecessary overlap by combining their means of action through joint programmes.
Even though the relations between both organisations exist since the creation of the European Economic Community (ECC) in 1957 – the forerunner of the European Union – the start of a real cooperation effort dates back to 1992, the date upon which the first joint programmes were created.
In 2005, the cooperation between the European Union and the Council of Europe reached a new stage. At this date, during the third Summit of the Council of Europe in Warsaw, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and former President of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker was asked to write a report on the relationship between the European Union and the Council of Europe. This report, A sole Ambition for the European Continent, was published in 2006 and is now considered as the basis for cooperation between the two organisations. Indeed, it led to the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding in May 2007. The latter defines the cooperation between both organisations, on the basis of complementarity and coherence.
"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."
Jean-Claude Juncker, A sole Ambition for the European Continent
In 2017, the EU and the Council of Europe celebrated 10 years of cooperation on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007.