Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Yves Quintin

First Page



Considering the numerous problems created by the accession, including the length of time required and the administrative burdens placed on the EC, one may question the value of this project. The creation of a catalogue of rights, however, will require as much time as the accession. As Professor Schermers points out, producing such a catalogue specifically for the EC will further split Western Europe, isolate the other members of the Council of Europe, and limit the effectiveness of the ECHR to the extent that the provisions in the catalogue would offer higher standards of protection. One may argue, however, that the benefit of a more integrated EC outweighs the cost of a less influential ECHR in the field of international protection of human rights. The Member States of the EC will remain bound by the ECHR and, therefore, this instrument will retain its valued status as one of the most advanced conventions in the field.

Even though the ECHR is advantageous because it is currently in existence, the arguments of the Commission in its favor are not compelling. The Commission rejects the idea of drawing up an EC catalogue of human rights in the near future because "the chances of agreeing within a reasonable period of time, on [such] a catalogue ... remain slight. The Commission does recognize in its conclusion, however, that "the negotiations concerning accession by the Community to the Convention will certainly take several years." In addition, the ratification by each contracting state to the ECHR is required for EC adherence to the Convention. This ratification requirement implies, paradoxically, that the Commission trusts Malta or Iceland more than the Member States to advance the protection of fundamental rights within the EC.