The Portuguese Bailout, Social Rights and the Rule of Law
in Alessandra Coli, Barbara Pacini and Elettra Stradella (eds.), Policy, Welfare and Financial Resources The Impact of the Crisis on Territories, Pisa University Press, Pisa, 2017, pp. 57-92
37 Pages Posted: 14 May 2018
Date Written: 2017
The international bailout granted to Portugal between 2011 and 2014 was conditional on the adoption by the Portuguese State of austerity measures included in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and the Member States.
The MoU was never published in an official journal or even translated into the Portuguese language. Its implementation caused a significant decrease in the level of protection of social rights. The compatibility of the MoU with core principles of the rule of law and with the EU´s social Constitution was never properly tested in court. A systemic failure in the jurisdictional system of the EU immunized the MoU to any judicial challenge. This failure was not corrected by the European Court of Human Rights that also did not find any breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by national measures that implemented the MoU.
Keywords: Bailout, Portugal, Crisis, Social Rights, European Union, Memoranda, Austerity, Rule of Law, Court of Justice of the European Union, European Court of Human Rights
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation