The European Parliament's Rules of Procedure has always included a provision governing relations between the EP and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Currently, article 189 stipulates that "Parliament's bodies, particularly the committees, shall cooperate with their counterparts at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in fields of mutual interest, with the aim in particular of improving the efficiency of their work and avoiding duplication of effort. The Conference of Presidents (leaders of the political groups), in agreement with the competent authorities of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, shall decide the arrangements for implementing these provisions".
Since the beginning of 2006 the APCE Rules of procedure include similar provisions.
On 11 April 2006 Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, presented a report on the future relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This extremely high political document, which was drafted to the demand of the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the "Europe of the 46", proposes a reinforcement of the interparliamentary contacts through more regular contacts at the level of the presidents of the political groups and the presidents of the parliamentary committees.
By means of that document a change in the quality of the dialogue should begin in the coming months. It should concern the European values and the Humans Rights related to all questions concerning the Neighbourhood policy, youth, education, or environment protection. The list of areas of reinforced cooperation is longuer than these topics because of the complementarity of both organisations. In the mid-term, the establishment of a true parliamentarian partnership at continental level is foreseen. Within the general secretariat of the EP, the Directorate for Relations with the National parliaments is working to put in practice this ambtitious objectif in the best way.
Signature of an Agreement EP/PACE
European Parliament (EP) President Hans-Gert Pöttering and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President René van der Linden signed on Wednesday 28 November 2007 in Brussels an agreement to improve cooperation between the two Institutions and increase complementary initiatives and synergies.
President Pöttering declared: "This agreement will mark another important step forward in relations between the EP and the PACE. The two institutions will intensify contacts on political issues and on questions of mutual interest and will increase coordination with a view of undertaking joint actions and avoiding duplication. This approach is very much in the interest of European citizens"
President van der Linden said: "There is only one Europe – that of all the citizens living on our continent. They need to feel its benefits materialise in their everyday life. It is therefore essential that their elected representatives at national level, represented in the Parliamentary Assembly and those in the European Parliament – cooperate and act together. The agreement between PACE and EP is a milestone in our relations and an expression of the political will for further cooperation".
Following the signature of the agreement, coordination will be encouraged through joint meetings and hearings, invitations for members and rapporteurs of corresponding committees and regular contacts between rapporteurs. The two institutions also agreed on the necessity to reflect the achievements of both bodies in each other's documents and actions. Finally, both Assemblies proposed to reinforce the already "excellent" cooperation in joint electoral observation missions.