Europe, Diplomacy, and Development: New Issues in EU Relations with Developing Countries

By Carol Cosgrove-Sacks; Carla Santos | Go to book overview

4
The European Union’s Human Rights Policy towards Developing Countries: A Constitutional and Legal Analysis
Irene Sacristan Sanchez

Introduction

This chapter explores the evolution of the European Union’s human rights policy, specifically in its relations with developing countries. An overview of the judicial development of a human rights doctrine within the EU and its extension to external relations (through First and Second Pillar instruments) will be the object of the first two sections. It will then be submitted that, in spite of the increasing attention paid to the promotion of human rights, the Union (and notably the Community Pillar) suffers from constitutional and legal ambiguities as far as human rights are concerned, which prevents them from carrying out a comprehensive policy in relation to developing countries. It is clearly not the intention of this contribution to claim that all possible criticism of such policy stems from constitutional law considerations; but rather to highlight that, alongside political and organisational problems, there are also legal circumstances preventing the full development by the European Union of a comprehensive human rights policy towards developing countries.

Hereinafter, the term European Union (EU) policy will be used to denote instruments for the promotion of human rights under the First (Community) and Second (Common Foreign and Security Policy) Pillars; the term European Community (EC) policy will be used when referring specifically to the First Pillar only in terms of the Maastricht Treaty on the European Union (TEU).

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