The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough? An Introduction

Nuno Ferreira, “The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough? An introduction”, in N. Ferreira and D. Kostakopoulou, (eds.), The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough?, Cambridge, CUP, 2016

14 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2015 Last revised: 8 Mar 2017

Nuno Ferreira

University of Sussex - School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Date Written: September 9, 2015

Abstract

The EU has throughout its history benefited from variable levels of popular support and revealed different levels of capacity to deal with crises. A range of factors may account for these changes, but one thing is certain: the current circumstances, on account of financial pressures, social instability and present geographical and policy scope of the EU, require serious introspection and ‘soul searching’. What can be done if the EU is not to perish and, hopefully, become more part of the solution than of the problem? May becoming more humane be the answer?

‘Humane’ may be defined in different ways, including compassionate, kind, sympathetic, tolerant, benign and humanitarian. Non-Western cultures seem to have made a much more sophisticated use of this notion in broader contexts up to the present day. Chinese culture, through the Confucian notion of ‘jen’ (pronounced ‘ren’), places enormous value on humaneness as a way of achieving balance, empathy and the moral standard. In the African context, the notion of ‘ubuntu’ has served as the gateway through which humaneness infiltrates all aspects of society, including law and policy, namely by focussing on participation, reconciliation, reciprocity, co-responsibility, interdependence, respect and equality.

Does the EU perhaps need to become more humane? This introduction to this edited collection discusses this question by suggesting a possible EU-tailored framework to devise more humane law and policy.

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Nuno, The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough? An Introduction (September 9, 2015). Nuno Ferreira, “The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough? An introduction”, in N. Ferreira and D. Kostakopoulou, (eds.), The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough?, Cambridge, CUP, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2658106

Nuno Ferreira (Contact Author)

University of Sussex - School of Law, Politics and Sociology ( email )

Freeman Building G41 , Falmer
Falmer
Brighton, BN1 9QE
United Kingdom

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