Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-v5vhk Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-19T04:25:07.823Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

4 - Accession of the EU to the ECHR

Who would be responsible in Strasbourg?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Diamond Ashiagbor
University of London
Nicola Countouris
University College London
Ioannis Lianos
University College London
Get access



Accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been a topic in legal circles for more than thirty years. The discussion first culminated in a request by the European Commission for an advisory opinion from the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Yet in that opinion, the ECJ ruled out accession in the absence of an explicit competence for the (then) European Community (EC). More than ten years after that opinion, the Treaty of Lisbon finally created such an explicit competence. According to the new Article 6(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Union shall accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This means that there is not only a right for the EU to accede, but also a duty, provided, of course, that accession is possible under the ECHR. Article 6 TEU has long referred to the ECHR as a source of inspiration for the Union's fundamental rights existing as general principles of Union law, and a long list of decisions by the ECJ is proof of the importance the Convention has for the EU's fundamental rights regime. The entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which in Article 52(3) refers to the ECHR as the minimum standard for the protection of human rights in the EU, consolidates the position of the ECHR in the EU and is a manifestation of the growing importance of human rights in the Union's legal order. Therefore, accession to the ECHR constitutes the next logical step in this development. It sends a clear signal that the EU is ready for external judicial review of its own regime of fundamental rights protection. This will not only enhance the credibility of the EU's human rights policy, but also foster the coherence of human rights protection in Europe.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Golsong, H 1978
Tridimas, T.The General Principles of EU LawOxford University PressOxford 2006Google Scholar
Craig, P.Búrca, G. deEU LawOxford University PressOxford 2007Google Scholar
, TLock, Beyond Bosphorus: The European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law on the Responsibility of Member States of International Organisations under the European Convention on Human Rights’ 2010 10 Human Rights Law ReviewCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koutrakos, EU International Relations LawHart 2006Google Scholar
Eeckhout, External Relations of the European UnionOxford University Press 2004Google Scholar
Hillion, C.Koutrakos, P.Mixed Agreements RevisitedHart 2010Google Scholar
Steinberger, E.The WTO Treaty as a Mixed Agreement: Problems with the EC's and the EC Member States’ Membership of the WTO’ 2006 17 EJILCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Witte, B. deEuropean Union Law: How Autonomous Is Its Legal Order 2010 65 Zeitschrift für Öffentliches RechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frowein, J.Peukert, W.Europäische MenschenrechtskonventionN.P. Engel Verlag 2009Google Scholar
Harris, D.O’Boyle, M.Bates, E.Buckley, C.Law of the European Convention on Human RightsOxford University PressOxford 2009Google Scholar
Köngeter, M.Völkerrechtliche und innerstaatliche Probleme eines Beitritts der Europäischen Union zur EMRKDie Europäische Verfassung, Verfassungen in EuropaNomos-Verlag 2005Google Scholar
Frowein, Peukert, Europäische MenschenrechtskonventionN. P. Engel Verlag 2009Google Scholar
Kahl, W.Calliess, C.Ruffert, M.EUV/EGVC. H. BeckMunich 2007Google Scholar
Schwarze, J.Rechtsstaatliche Defizite des europäischen KartellbußverfahrensWirtschaft und Wettbewerb 2009Google Scholar
Balthasar, S. 2010
Chalmers, D.Davies, G.Monti, G.European Union LawCambridge University PressCambridge 2010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lock, TThe ECJ and the ECtHR: The Future Relationship Between the Two European Courts’ 2009 8 The Law and Practice of International Courts and TribunalsCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats