Tuesday 25 May 2010

The EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: European Parliament resolution

Last week, the European Parliament has voted on a resolution regarding the EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The resolution is horrible to read (Rapporteur: Ramón Jáuregiu Atondo) and although I'm pretty interested in the subject it was no pleasure to go through the document. I will thus focus on the more practical, cooperation-related elements of the resolution.

Three paragraphs seem to be most important regarding the political interaction of the EU and the Council of Europe (paragraphs 7, 31 & 34) as a result of the EU's accession to the ECHR. The three paragraphs portray how the European Parliament sees the participation of the European Union in the working structures of the Council of Europe.

You'll find the three below; I've added links where helpful.

Let's start with para 7:
Stresses that accession to the ECHR does not make the Union a member of the Council of Europe but that a degree of participation by the Union in the ECHR bodies is necessary in order to ensure proper integration of the Union into the ECHR system and that, therefore, the Union should have certain rights in this domain, particularly:
  • the right to submit a list of three candidates for the post of judge, one of whom is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on behalf of the Union and participates in the work of the Court on a footing of equality with the other judges, pursuant to Article 27(2) of the ECHR; the European Parliament being involved either in drawing up the list of candidates in line with a procedure similar to that provided for in Article 255 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union for candidates for the position of judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union, 
  • the right of the European Parliament to appoint/send a certain number of representatives to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe when the latter elects judges to the European Court of Human Rights;
This is para 31:
Calls, further, for the Union to accede to Council of Europe bodies such as the Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the European Commission on the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ); stresses also the need for the Union to be involved in the work of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), the Governmental Social Committee and the European Committee on Migration, and asks to be duly informed of the conclusions and decisions of these bodies;
And this is para 34:
Stresses that it is important to have an informal body in order to coordinate information sharing between the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;
Apart from these interinstitutional arrangements between the political bodies, it is also worth (and probably more important) considering the legal implications of the EU's accession to the ECHR, but I don't feel like extracting the view of the EP from the resolution.

Maybe someone with a deeper interest or knowledge of the interrelation of international courts and the interaction of different supranational legal regimes may want to take on that task. I'll be glad to link.

What remains unclear politically is how close the non-public draft Council Conclusions regarding the Commission mandate to negotiate the accession are to the European Parliament resolution and what would happen in case that there are contradiction between the two documents.

There is no answer to that question in the EP's resolution. Which is in purpose, I suppose.

PS.: More articles on the accession process in this blog can be found under the label "ECHR".


Aussie said...

Hello Julien

Your last post about the "EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: State of play", was upload on Tuesday, 9 March 2010.

Would you mind to upload an update? I'm newbie to the european legislation (I've just started my degree).

Thanks a lot

Julien Frisch said...


I am not aware of any new documents from the Council that summarise the state of play.

If the draft mandate was public one might be able to extract that state of play, but since it is not we are not really updated in this regard.