Court opinion on EU's ECHR accession confirms incompatibility with EU law

Dec 18, 2014


A European Court of Justice (ECJ) opinion on proposals to accede the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) has confirmed that the proposals are not compatible with EU law.

Morten Messerschmidt, Constitutional Affairs spokesman of the eurorealist European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament has argued that the ruling confirms his concerns that the combination of European law and the ECHR is far too complex and would undermine European jurisprudence.

The Court was asked to give an opinion on a draft agreement for the EU to acceded to the Convention before its implementation. Judges have warned that the EU is not a state and that acceding would adversely affect the division of powers between the EU and its Member States, and the specific nature of EU law. It also warns that accession would see one EU state checking that other Member States were observing fundamental rights, undermining the autonomy of EU law.

In response to the ruling, Mr Messerschmidt said:

“The Court is right to recognise that melding EU systems, the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, with the European Convention of Human Rights raises too many complexities.

“The EU already has its own court and its own human rights charter interpreted by the courts. Acceding to the ECHR and accepting the supremacy of the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg offers a recipe for chaos that only the most skilled human rights lawyers could navigate.

“It is time for the EU to accept that EU accession to the ECHR was a symbolic and unworkable act.

“I hope the irony is not lost that the ECJ is opposing the ECHR because its rulings might result in a loss of sovereignty.”