Autonomy: From Myth to Reality – Or Hubris on a Tightrope? EU Law, Human Rights and International Law
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott and Nicholas Hatzis (eds) Research Handbook on EU Human Rights Law, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015/2016, Forthcoming
57 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2015 Last revised: 5 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 25, 2015
This chapter considers the complex relationship between EU law and international law, analysing an increasing trend of closure of the former to the latter in the jurisprudence of the CJEU. It shows that international human rights law, at least since the entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, is no exception to this trend. In inquiring into the reasons for this, the chapter critically examines the prominent focus on autonomy in Opinion 2/13. Relating the notion of autonomy to earlier case law reveals a much expanded, overarching concept, potentially on the verge of being considered to be a general principle by the CJEU. It is argued that such a wide notion of autonomy distorts the interpretation of the accession conditions in the Article 6(2) TEU, Protocol 8 to the Treaty of Lisbon and the Declaration on Article 6(2) TEU which should be interpreted narrowly in the light of the object and purpose and intention of the Member States when creating the obligation to accede. The paper sketches out an alternative to a restrictive approach to international law. The consequences of a restrictive approach would be that the EU legal order isolates itself from international influences and dynamics which would be particularly valuable for shaping and maintaining a modern system of human rights protection in the EU on which the pluralistic Solange II/Bosphorus settlement between the EU and its Member States depends. More generally, isolating itself from international law is not just potentially damaging to international law, but could in the long term undermine the legitimacy and very foundations of the EU.
Keywords: EU and international law, EU and international human rights, EU fundamental rights, EU accession to the ECHR, autonomy of the EU legal order, Opinion 2/13, general principles of EU law, systemic integration, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, EU law and ECHR, EU Charter on Fundamental Rights
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