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Child drawing friendly people and a globe as a background © Gorilla, fotolia

The cooperation with international organisations is an important element of the EU's external policies. It also helps to develop the European area of justice.

Global challenges in the field of justice such as respect for the rule of law, good governance and support for democracy require working together with many different international organisations. Cooperation with the Council of Europe and the United Nations are of particular importance in this field.

Cooperation with the United Nations

The European Commission is actively involved in developing initiatives and strategies with the UN in the field of justice. It is in regular contact with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and participates in the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Cooperation with the Council of Europe

The European Commission actively participates in the work of the Council of Europe through regular contact, the organisation of joint conferences, and working together to ensure consistency of legal instruments and non-binding instruments.

They have developed intense cooperation through joint programmes for the promotion of democratic values and the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Europe. A Memorandum of Understandingpdf(228 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  signed in 2007 reaffirmed their commitment to these priorities.

At expert level, cooperation covers a wide variety of fields, such as civil and criminal justice and the improvement of judicial cooperation.

Common initiatives include:

The European Day of Civil Justice is celebrated each year around the 25 October. It aims to bring justice closer to citizens, to inform them on their rights and to to promote the work of the European Commission and of the Council of Europe in the field of civil justice, through simulation of procedures and information sessions. This day is open to all european citizens, students and people who work in the field of justice.

Since 2005, the Council of Europe and the European Commission are organising together a competition to discover and highlight innovative and efficient practices used in European courts for court organisation or for the conduct of judicial proceedings (for example, initiatives devised by a court president, a registry, a Bar) and deserving to be drawn to the attention of policy-makers and the judicial community so as to improve the functioning of the public justice system.