Minister Häkkänen: EU should finally accede to the European Convention on Human Rights

Ministry of Justice 8.12.2017 12.52
Press release
Minister Häkkänen: EU should finally accede to the European Convention on Human Rights

“In my opinion, it is highly important that the European Union finally accedes to the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen in the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels.

“For almost ten years now the EU has had the obligation to accede to the European Human Rights Convention. At the moment, the European Union is still the dominant player in value-based leadership and in promoting the fundamental and human rights in international contexts. However, within Europe there are now alarming developments where these values are being questioned, which is why our shared value base needs to be further strengthened. The EU should show its commitment to respecting human rights by acceding to the Human Rights Convention,” Häkkänen said.

EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Minister Häkkänen’s initiative. The Union’s accession to the ECHR has been one of the objectives for Finland’s EU policy already for a longer time. The accession would improve the legal status of EU citizens and reinforce the credibility of the EU in dealing with human rights.

In the meeting, the justice ministers will receive the Commission's update on the EU accession to the Human Rights Convention. The draft Accession Agreement was finalised in 2013 after long negotiations. The next year, the European Court of Justice delivered an opinion stating that the draft Agreement is in some respects incompatible with the EU Treaties.

Due to the Court’s opinion, the Accession Agreement cannot enter into force before either the Agreement or the Treaties are amended. The relevant Council working party is in the process of addressing these problems, and the Commission is preparing an analysis of the legal issues raised by the Court.

“The Commission plays a key role here and we are expecting it to propose a resolution of the matter,” Minister of Justice Häkkänen stressed.

“The premise is that the Accession Agreement will not be amended any more than is necessary. To some extent, the problems raised by the Court of Justice in its opinion can possibly be corrected by measures within the Union,” said Minister Häkkänen.

Inquiries: Lauri Koskentausta, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 50131