EU Relations with Holy See (Vatican)

The Holy See is the governing institution of the Catholic Church. The Pope is the head of both the Vatican City State - a sovereign, independent territory - and the Holy See. The Holy See is a sovereign entity under international law, conducting its own international policy and maintaining diplomatic relations with over 170 states around the world. It is a member of, or observer in, many international organisations.

The Holy See and the EU established diplomatic relations in 1970. The first Head of EU Delegation to the Holy See was appointed in 2006.

The EU and the Holy See maintain a dialogue on a number of European and global issues, such as:

  • Dialogue between cultures and religions
  • Poverty and development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Conflict prevention and resolution
  • Human rights, including freedom of religion and belief


The EU has concluded a Revised Monetary Agreement with the Vatican City State on the use of the euro as its official currency. The Vatican also has a preferential customs arrangement with the EU on the basis of an agreement between the Vatican and Italy.