Comparing European and North American policies with respect to “civil rights” is a difficult exercise for two reasons. First, it is important to emphasize that Europe and the United States are not political entities of a same nature. Granted, the fact that the nations that today comprise Europe are heirs of common history explains in part the similarities in their political behavior and distinguishes them as a group from the “New World.” Yet in the American case, despite the country's federalist structure and the existence of fifty states within the Union, we are dealing with a single nation, endowed with a central government capable of generating policies that are valid throughout the territory. Such is not the case with Europe. As is well known, the European continent is divided into two sharply contrasted spheres. On the one hand, there is the East, thrown into confusion by the devastation of communism and mired in a profound economic crisis. On the other hand, there is the West, comprised of nations that share a level of economic prosperity comparable to that of the United States but which do not form a single political entity. At present, the European Economic Community includes only twelve European states; the remaining countries, such as Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria, have yet to become members. In this essay, the question of “civil rights” will be examined specifically in light of those countries that already belong to the EEC.