Some weeks have passed since the European Court of Justice delivered its startling binding Opinion 2/13 against the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). There has already been much academic commentary on the complex Opinion. The European Commission has declared the need for a period of reflection. Mindful of its legal duty under Article 6(2) TEU to achieve the EU’s accession to the Convention, the Commission considers itself still empowered by the Council decision of June 2010 to continue negotiations in due course with the Council of Europe. But the political reaction is muted: some EU member states would like to knock the matter into the long grass; and the European Parliament has not yet found its voice. In truth, nobody can relish the thought of re-opening negotiations at this juncture on the Draft Accession Agreement (DAA) with either Russia or Turkey, both of whose leaders appear to have abandoned the democratic rule of law and turned against Western values.
Yet the Court of Justice (CJEU) raises important issues which the other institutions cannot simply ignore. Its Opinion adds to the already fairly improbable conditions which the Treaties themselves attach to the EU’s accession to the ECHR: Protocol No 8 says that accession shall not affect the ‘specific characteristics of the Union and Union law’, that the competences of the EU and the powers of its institutions shall be preserved, that the situation of member states vis-à-vis the ECHR should not be changed, and further, that no intra-EU dispute should go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ...Zum vollständigen Artikel