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The EU's Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: An International Law Perspective

Odermatt, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6073-3033 (2015). The EU's Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: An International Law Perspective. New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, 47, 59.


Article 6(2) of the Treaty on European Union establishes that the Union “shall accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.” In early 2013, negotiators of the 47 Council of Europe member states and the European Union finalised a draft Accession Agreement that would allow the EU to accede to the Convention. In this article I examine the issues and challenges that EU accession poses from an international law perspective. Much of the literature on the EU accession has focused on the effect that this process will have on the EU legal order, including questions regarding its autonomy. Yet EU accession also raises important issues for international law. It is another example of an international organization taking part in a legal system designed exclusively for participation by state parties. To what extent should the EU participate on an equal footing with the other contracting parties, and when are special rules required to take into account the nature of the EU legal order? The article explores the broader issues that arise when the EU seeks to participate in its own right in the international legal order. It is submitted that the EU’s accession to the ECHR is not only an important step for the EU legal order, but also a highly significant development for public international law.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: International Law, International Organizations, European Union, European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe, ECHR Accession, EU law, Autonomy, Human Rights Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
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