On April 14, 2021, the European Union (EU) and its member states signed a draft agreement on the EU`s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This is a significant step in ensuring that the EU is bound by the same human rights standards as its member states.
The ECHR was adopted in 1950 by the Council of Europe, of which the EU is not a member. The convention sets out a list of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, freedom of expression, and the right to a fair trial. The convention has been ratified by all member states of the EU, but until now, the EU itself has not been party to it.
The draft agreement on the EU`s accession to the ECHR outlines the process by which the EU will become a party to the convention. It includes provisions on the EU`s relationship with the ECHR`s monitoring bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and how the EU will ensure that its legislative acts comply with the convention.
One of the main benefits of the EU`s accession to the ECHR is that individuals will be able to bring complaints against the EU before the ECtHR. Currently, individuals can only bring complaints against member states of the EU. This means that if an individual believes that an EU institution has violated their human rights, they have no legal recourse.
Another benefit is that the EU`s accession to the ECHR will help to harmonize human rights standards across Europe. The EU is already bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, but the ECHR provides additional protection for human rights that are not specifically addressed in the Charter.
The EU`s accession to the ECHR has been a long-awaited development. The process began in 1979, but negotiations only started in earnest in 2010. The draft agreement will now be sent to the Council of Europe for review before it is officially signed.
In conclusion, the EU`s accession to the ECHR is a positive step towards ensuring that the EU is held accountable for upholding human rights. It will provide individuals with greater legal protection and harmonize human rights standards across Europe. The draft agreement is an important milestone in this process, and it is hoped that it will be ratified soon.