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European Union



The Council of Europe and the European Union:

different roles, shared values


The Council of Europe and the European Union share the same fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – but are separate entities which perform different, yet complementary, roles.

Focusing on those core values, the Council of Europe brings together governments from across Europe – and beyond – to agree minimum legal standards in a wide range of areas. It then monitors how well countries apply the standards that they have chosen to sign up to. It also provides technical assistance, often working together with the European Union, to help them do so.

The European Union refers to those same European values as a key element of its deeper political and economic integration processes. It often builds upon Council of Europe standards when drawing up legal instruments and agreements which apply to its 28 member states. Furthermore, the European Union regularly refers to Council of Europe standards and monitoring work in its dealings with neighbouring countries, many of which are Council of Europe member states.

The Lisbon Treaty increased the scope for European Union action in many areas where the Council of Europe already has significant experience and expertise. This has led to increased cooperation on issues such as fighting human trafficking, the sexual exploitation of children and violence against women. It has also opened the way for the European Union itself to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights, and to other Council of Europe agreements.

Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union are set out in the:

Moreover, the European Union participates in the various meetings of the Committee of Ministers.

Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights

The accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights constitutes a major step in the development of human rights in Europe. Discussed since the late 1970s, the accession became a legal obligation under the Treaty of Lisbon.


Although the European Union is not yet a Party to the European Convention on Human Rights and its acts cannot as such be the subject of applications to the European Court of Human Rights (the Court), the issues relating to Community law have been raised regularly with the Court and the former European Commission of Human Rights:

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Partial Agreements

The European Union takes part:


The European Union may send representatives to the meetings (but has no right to vote or defrayal of expenses) of the following Council of Europe Intergovernmental Committees:

  • Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)
  • Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI)
  • European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)
  • European Committee on Migration (CDMG)
  • European Health Committee (CDSP)
  • Ad hoc European Committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency (CAHAMA)
  • Steering Committee for Culture (CDCULT)
  • Steering Committee for Education (CDED)
  • European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ)
  • Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR)
  • Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape (CDPATEP)
  • Joint Council on Youth (CMJ)
  • European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)
  • Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
  • Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)
  • European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ)
  • Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)
  • Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG)
  • Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC)
  • European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC)
  • Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER)
  • European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH)


The European Commission has an observer status in the Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches.


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The European Union's contribution to the Council of Europe budget:

The actual Annual Receipts on EU contributions under Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Union, registered between 1 January and 31 December 2013, amounted to €20 million. These accounted for 51% of all 2013 income from extrabudgetary contributions, confirming the EU as the major external contributor to CoE activities.

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European Union documents related to the cooperation with the Council of Europe: