Migrant Workers in International Human Rights Law: Their Protection in Countries of Employment

By Ryszard Cholewinski | Go to book overview

Council of Europe Human Rights Conventions and European Community Law: A Comprehensive Framework for Protecting the Rights of Migrants in Europe?

5.1 INTRODUCTION

The international protection of the economic, social, cultural, political, and residence rights of migrant workers and their families in Europe is discernible on a number of levels, and it is necessary to distinguish the different regimes, organizations, and multilateral instruments which play a part in the protection of this vulnerable group.

The European Community (EC), consisting of 15 member states,1 is the most advanced international regime applicable to migrant workers and their families. Free movement of labour within EC countries is a reality and brings with it a plethora of elaborate provisions aimed at the realization of full equality between nationals of member states. The recent Treaty on European Union (TEU),2 which amends the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (EEC),3 (the principal instrument concerned with the free movement of workers), also establishes the European Union (EU) with the result that a range of new provisions and mechanisms has been introduced which will have a profound effect on

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1
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Austria, Finland, and Sweden became full EC members as at 1 Jan. 1995, although these countries had effectively been incorporated, together with Iceland and Norway (all European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states), into the free movement of workers rubric since 1 Jan. 1994 because of their ratification of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), OJ 1994, L 1/1 (Pt III, Free Movement of Persons, Services and Capital). The provisions in the EEA Agreement concerning free movement of persons are also applicable to Liechtenstein, but will not come into effect for that country until 1 Jan. 1998. See Groupe d'information et de soutein des travailleurs immigrés (GISTI) and Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA), The Movement of Aliens in the European Area (GISTI, ILPA, May 1995) 23. For a comprehensive assessment of the operation of the EEA freedom of movement provisions, see I. Borgerud, "'Application of the Right of Free Movement for Workers under the European Economic Area Agreement'" in J. Kenner, (ed.), Trends in European Social Policy: Essays in Memory of Malcolm Mead ( Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1995) 189. For a summary of these provisions, see The Movement of Aliens in the European Area, ibid.23-6.
2
OJ 1992, C 191.
3
Rome, 25 March 1957, 298 UNTS 11. The EEC Treaty is renamed the Treaty Establishing the European Community (hereinafter EC Treaty). See Art. G(1) TEU. The text of the EC Treaty, as amended, is reproduced in European Union: Selected Instruments Taken from the Treaties, Book I, Vol. 1 ( Luxembourg: OOPEC, 1993) 91-669.

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