The European Union and the Council of Europe as the two biggest international organisations on the European continent do not only have an overlapping membership structure with 27 of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe are at the same time members of the European Union, they also have common goals. Both seek to achieve greater unity between the states of Europe through respect for the shared values of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as through pan-European cooperation, thus promoting democratic stability and security to which European societies and citizens aspire.
Today a "Contact Group" made up of six politicians from each institution meets twice a year to discuss issues of joint interest and to perform a steering function with regard to the overall cooperation between both institutions. There are various joint activities between the CoR commissions and the respective committees within the Congress as well as joint action with regard to communication. Furthermore the Presidents and Secretaries General of CoR and Congress meet on a regular basis.
Cooperation between the European Union and the Council of Europe is likely to increase further in the years to come. On the basis of a report on the relations between both organisations, presented by Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker in April 2006, the European Union and the Council of Europe signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2007 to strengthen their partnership.