EU Human Rights Policies: A Study in Irony

Hardcover | May 3, 2004

byAndrew Williams

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Despite recent constitutional arrangements, human rights remain an ambiguous and complex subject in the European Union. Human rights issues may have become increasingly relevant to the life of the EU over the past thirty years but there has been an institutional reluctance to mould a unifiedhuman rights policy worthy of the name. Nevertheless, the EU's practices have not been constructed randomly: they have evolved within discrete policy realms along coherent narrative lines. From the arguably mythical basis that the EU was founded upon a general principle of respect for human rights;policies and practices have developed along two distinct paths. Internally, within the EU, human rights are contingent. Scrutiny is erratic and even casual, and enforcement is left to the courts and independent agencies. Externally, in the EU's interactions with non-members, however, the story isvery different: human rights are broad in concept. Collective notions of rights are accepted and promoted. Scrutiny can be intrusive and effective, and systems of enforcement, increasingly severe in scope and strength, have been applied. This bifurcation has direct implications for the EU's constitutional structure and its future human rights activities. It suggests that, through human rights language, conditions for conflict rather than integration have arisen, and that a system of double standards has been instituted. Williamstherefore argues that the EU's claims to a credible human rights policy are suspect. This book examines the nature and scope of the bifurcation and explains its origins and development. In doing so it questions orthodox interpretations and provides a radical new reading of the EU's human rights law and practice. At its heart, the book claims that without a fundamental reappraisal ofthe basis upon which the EU responds to human rights, it will remain plagued by this ironical condition.

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Despite recent constitutional arrangements, human rights remain an ambiguous and complex subject in the European Union. Human rights issues may have become increasingly relevant to the life of the EU over the past thirty years but there has been an institutional reluctance to mould a unifiedhuman rights policy worthy of the name. Never...

Andrew Williams is Lecturer in Law at the University of Warwick.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.7 inPublished:May 3, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199268967

ISBN - 13:9780199268962

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Table of Contents

General Editor's PrefacePrefaceAbbreviationsTable of EC Material1. Introduction2. Development Policy and Human Rights3. Accession to the Community and Human Rights4. The Scope of Internal-External Incoherence5. Explaining Incoherence: the Orthodox Arguments6. The Invention of Human Rights in the Community7. European Identity and Human Rights8. Conclusion: The Irony of the Community's Human Rights PoliciesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Williams takes a fresh and thought-provoking look at this much scrutinised area. From the outset, theere can be no doubt as to Williams' deep commitment to the pursuit of human rights protection. He sets about his task with passion , developing a sophisticated these which probes the veryfoundations of the EU's human rights agenda... This is a stimulating book which should give practitioners and policy makers, as well as those engaged in study of European institutions and policy-making, considerable pause for thought.'Emily Reid, University of Sussex