Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

A Human Rights Policy for the European Community*

ANDREW CLAPHAM


I. Introduction

The Yearbook of European Law has already published three excellent articles which analyse the interaction between Community law and the European Convention on Human Rights.1 This article is designed to complement these articles but does not attempt to revisit the same terrain. It explores some of the questions which arise in the context of the 1992 programme and looks at the prospects of a co-ordinated Community Human Rights Policy. For example the changes in Central and Eastern Europe have precipitated Community reactions which are explicitly formulated in the language of human rights. Negotiations for a trade agreement between the Community and Romania were suspended as a response to the human rights abuses under the Ceauşescu regime, were reopened after the 'revolution' in December 1989 and resuspended following the suppression of the student protests in June 1990. Negotiations started again in September 1990 but the threat of Community withdrawal as a reaction to further human rights abuses remains. Human rights and European economic relations are likely to become increasingly interconnected and it remains to be seen to what extent human rights will play a key role in development aid projects such as the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development and the OECD's programme. With respect to this last programme the Commission of the European Community was asked by the Heads of State and Government to co-ordinate aid to Poland and Hungary.2 The Commission outlined five conditions for the granting of this aid: the implementation of the rule of law; respect for human rights; the existence of multi party systems; the holding of free and fair elections; and market orientated economies. The scheme has now been extended to Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Romania, and the decision not to invite Romania to the Ministerial meeting of the OECD countries was taken as a result of a recommendation by the Commission following Commission missions to the countries concerned.

____________________
*
© Andrew Clapham, 1990, European University Institute, Florence.
1
See J. McBride and L. Neville Brown "'The United Kingdom, the European Community and the European Convention on Human Rights'", YEL ( 1981), 167; M. Mendelson "'The European Court of Justice and Human Rights'", YEL ( 1981), 121; M. Mendelson "'The Impact of European Community Law on the Implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights'", YEL ( 1983), 99.
2
See EC Bull, 7/8- 1989, 141-43, and 8-9 and EC Bull 9- 1989, 49-52.

-309-

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