The EU and the Council of Europe share a history that goes back to 1952. There are similarities, but there are also obvious differences in nature, membership and financial leverage, and the coexistence of the two organisations has sometimes caused tensions. Yet in the past decade it has been increasingly acknowledged that the two organisations complement one another. For the Union, the Council of Europe offers a convenient platform for engaging with third countries such as Russia and Turkey. Its activities in terms of standardsetting, monitoring and assistance provide important contributions to the process of European integration. Conversely, the resources of the European Union add greatly to the effectiveness, and indeed to the activities, of the Council of Europe. And so, a close and successful relationship has gradually developed. Nowadays the two organisations invest millions of euros in joint programmes in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.