A Force Profonde: The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights

By Edward A. Kolodziej | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
The European Union

Michael Newman

The founding treaty of the European Economic Community, signed by the original six member states in Rome in 1957, did not mention human rights. Forty years later, a new treaty agreed to by the current fifteen member states in Amsterdam, included specific clauses on the subject as conditions of membership for the European Union. And in Cologne in June 1999 they decided that it was time to establish a Charter of Fundamental Rights. The task of elaborating this charter was then entrusted to a convention, and the European Council at Nice adopted a final draft in December 2000.

The objectives of this chapter are to explain why this evolution in the EU’s human rights agenda has taken place, to assess the contemporary situation, and to evaluate the prospects for change.1 But before turning to the substantive issues, it must be noted that the European Union is not the primary European legal framework in which human rights issues have been codified and enforced. This has been the task of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the parent body of which is the Council of Europe. These institutions not only predate the European Union and its predecessors, but also remain quite separate from them. All the member states of the European Union are also members of the Council of Europe and have ratified the ECHR, but the European Union itself is not a member of the Council of Europe or a signatory of the ECHR. Nevertheless, the Council of Europe is a gatekeeper for the European Union in the sense that applicants for the latter are now expected to secure prior membership of the former. It is therefore crucial to consider the ECHR if human rights within the European Union are to be understood.

Following a brief outline of the ECHR, the chapter explores the evolution of the EU agenda in relation to human rights, considers some of the key issues in greater depth, and finally examines the possibilities for reform, with particular reference to the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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A Force Profonde: The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chapter 1 - A Force Profonde- The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights 1
  • Part I - Contending Legitimacies 29
  • Chapter 2 - Western Perspectives 31
  • Chapter 3 - Muslim Perspectives 45
  • Part II - Regional Perspectives 69
  • Chapter 4 - The Northern Tier 71
  • Chapter 5 - North Africa 91
  • Chapter 6 - The Middle East- Israel 113
  • Chapter 7 - Northeast Asia- China 128
  • Chapter 8 - South Asia 144
  • Chapter 9 - Southeast Asia 163
  • Chapter 10 - The European Union 182
  • Chapter 11 - Eastern Europe- The Russian Federation 198
  • Chapter 12 - Latin America 220
  • Chapter 13 - Southern Africa 238
  • Chapter 14 - West Africa- Nigeria 260
  • Part III - Retrospect and Prospects 275
  • Chapter 15 - Whither Human Rights? 277
  • Notes 293
  • References Cited 299
  • Contributors 317
  • Index 319
  • Acknowledgments 339
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