Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations
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Research Handbook on the European Union and International Organizations

Edited by Ramses A. Wessel and Jed Odermatt

Over the years, the European Union has developed relationships with other international institutions, mainly as a result of its increasingly active role as a global actor and the transfer of competences from the Member States to the EU. This book presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of the EU’s engagement with other international institutions, examining both the EU’s representation and cooperation as well as the influence of these bodies on the development of EU law and policy.
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Chapter 26: Council of Europe

Rick Lawson


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.

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