15 Colum. J. Eur. L. 1 (2008 – 2009)
Tony Joris. Jean Monnet Professor, Centre for European Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Jan Vandenberghe. Researcher, sponsored by the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders, Centre for European Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
In this article we analyze the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union. The starting point of this analysis is that the two organizations are natural partners, although their partnership is sometimes shaky and merits reform. First we give a brief overview of the origins and development of cooperation between the two organizations, focusing on the institutional framework governing their relationship. Subsequently, we examine their core areas of cooperation: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Then the virtues of the recently adopted Memorandum of Understanding on strengthening of cooperation between the two organizations are assessed in the light of the final recommendations of the Juncker Report. Finally, we consider how the framework governing the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union may be strengthened in order to ensure complementarity of activities and to make sure that these natural partners do not become uneasy bedfellows.