EU Free Trade Agreements and Constitutional Rights

De Lombaerde, Philippe and Kingah, Stephen, (24-1). EU Free Trade Agreements and Constitutional Rights. European Law Journal, 20(6), 713-717

Document type:

  • Author De Lombaerde, Philippe
    Kingah, Stephen
    Title EU Free Trade Agreements and Constitutional Rights
    Appearing in European Law Journal
    Volume 20
    Issue No. 6
    Publication Date 24-10-2014
    Place of Publication Oxford
    Publisher John Wiley and Sons Ltd
    Start page 713
    End page 717
    Language EN

    How are constitutional rights protected or undermined in free trade agreements
    (FTAs) involving the European Union (EU)? Such rights include the traditional
    firstgeneration civil and political rights; the secondgeneration social, economic and
    cultural rights, as well as thirdgeneration rights that include the environment. Over
    the past decade, there has been a clear increase in the number of FTAs entered into
    by the EU. In the majority of these agreements, respect for human rights is often
    presented as an essential element. From the EU’s perspective, focus has always been
    on using these agreements to foster its normative standing. This entailed a promotion
    of its core values on human rights and good governance. The critical factor has
    always been to use these agreements to check excesses of repressive regimes. But given
    that human rights are regarded as indivisible, there is also a strong desire from critics
    that greater attention is equally placed on socioeconomic rights. This argument is
    further stretched in those countries with constitutions that clearly stipulate the pro
    tection of second and thirdgeneration rights.
    There are many reasons why rights have been included in EU FTAs. From the
    EU’s perspective, not only are its normative values extended farther afield through
    such clauses, but it also signals that commercial policy cannot be conducted in
    isolation. Rather it is part of a package of tools in foreign affairs that the Union can
    use. From the perspective of partner countries, embracing such rights may actually be
    a strategy with which to sell a more burnished image that is attractive to foreign
    investors and visitors. What is more, some of these countries also embrace the clauses
    mindful of the salience accorded to human rights in their own national constitutions.
    The EU is not alone in using such provisions in its FTAs. The United States has also
    been keen to integrate human rights and soft political provisions in its trade deals as
    well as preferential schemes such as the one sanctioned under the African Growth and
    Opportunity Act. The approach used by the EU since the 1990s has been that of
    carrots and sticks: providing perks to good performers and forfeiting the same to

    Copyright Holder John Wiley and Sons Ltd
    Copyright Year 2014
    Copyright type All Rights Reserved
    DOI 10.1111/eulj.12100
  • Versions
    Version Filter Type
  • Citation counts
    Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
    Access Statistics: 214 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
    Created: Fri, 15 Feb 2019, 13:42:41 JST