Of Austerity, Human Rights and International Institutions
25 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 2015
Austerity measures have led to the denial of social rights and widespread socio‐economic malaise across Europe. In the case of countries subjected to conditionality imposed by international institutions, the resultant harms have highlighted a range of responsibility gaps. Two legal developments come together to expose these gaps: Greece's argument in a series of cases under the European Social Charter that it was not responsible for the impact on rights brought about by austerity measures as it was only giving effect to its other international obligations as agreed with the Troika; and the concern to emerge from the Pringle case before the European Court of Justice that European Union (EU) institutions could do outside of the EU what they could not do within the EU ‐‐disregard the Charter of Fundamental Rights. That the Commission and the European Central Bank were in time answerable to international organisations set up to provide financial support adds an additional layer of responsibility to consider. Taking Greece as a case study, this article addresses the imperative of having international institutions respect human rights.
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