Abstract: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has the competence to adjudicate on matters of human rights within the European Union (EU). It does so on the basis of a number of internal sources, such as the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights or EU general principles of law. EU law also requires that these sources are inspired by the rights found within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), although this obligation does not place the EU under the direct supervision of the ECHR system. This article examines the approach of the CJEU to human rights protection and in particular seeks to analyse what this tells us about the Court’s views about the role and purpose of the ECHR mechanism. The CJEU has rejected human rights monitoring of EU law by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), an external body acting according to an external standard (the ECHR), despite the fact that case-specifi c external review is a fundamental aspect of the modern international human rights law system. At the apex of recent retreat from the ECHR is the CJEU’s Opinion 2/13, which suggests that any judicial scrutiny of EU law by the ECtHR (under a future EU accession to the ECHR) could only take place under strict constraints. This article suggests that the CJEU is unwilling to support the very purpose of the ECHR as an international human rights law mechanism.
Keywords: EU; ECHR; human rights; external monitoring; individual petition; autonomy
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