An opening ceremony was held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in the 23th November in 2016 to celebrate a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by the Council of Europe and the European Union in 2007. The Memorandum established the core principles of the Council of Europe (human rights, democracy, rule of law) as commonly recognized standards between the both European institutions. Secretary General of the CoE Thorbjørn Jagland and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will celebrate 10 years of stronger co-operation by launching a series of initiatives next year.
In the opening ceremony CoE's Secretary General Jagland and EU's High Representative Mogherini exchanged their views on co-operation between their respective institutions. They were concerned on the fading trust of the European citizens towards the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.
Jagland emphasized the importance of co-operation between the CoE and the EU to combat the rising tide of populism, nationalism and xenophobia. He called for the EU to join the European Convention on Human Rights. He also highlighted the importance of a more efficient implementation of the social and economic rights of the European Social Charter through the Turin process. According to Jagland, this kind of co-operation strengthens social cohesion across Europe.
EU's High Representative Mogherini stressed the importance of respecting the CoE values also internally within the member states of the EU. The co-operation between the CoE and the EU is fruitful, inter alia, in the Balkans, in the Eastern Ukraine and in Turkey. EU is an important donor while the CoE provides important expertise in the fields of democracy, judiciary and human rights, which are important preconditions for a durable peace in the target countries.
The Vice President of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok and the Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly René Rouquet also held addresses in the opening ceremony. The discussion was chaired by the Ambassador of the EU delegation to the CoE Jari Vilén.