–Christina Eckes, University of Amsterdam, reviewing Vasiliki Kosta, Nikos Skoutaris, and Vassilis Tzevelekos, The EU Accession to the ECHR (Hart Publishing 2014, 402pp)
Whether and when the European Union (EU) will accede to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) remains to be seen. What is certain is that the possibility of EU accession to the ECHR and the relationship between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have been the subject of intense academic discussion for decades.
This book is a timely, well-researched and well-argued contribution to this body of literature. The Committee of Ministers took note of the draft accession agreement on 11 September 2013. Hence, the process of accession has just entered into a new stage, reaching a semi-definitive agreement that is worth analyzing and debating. At the same time, the date of accession is far from definitive with a request for an opinion of the CJEU pending and with the requirement of ratification of all 28 EU Member States.
From inter-disciplinarity to intra-disciplinarity
The book aims to offer an intra-disciplinary approach to accession, combining the perspectives of constitutional law, public international law and EU law. Indeed, legal scholarship is divided into subfields and sub-subfields that often conduct isolated debates amongst scholars with the same background and interest. The book is hence a welcome attempt to bridge these divides and to approach a topic of relevance in different subfields from the perspectives of several of these subfields. However, the next step and this is a step the book does not (fully) accomplish, would be to engage the different perspectives in a fruitful intra-disciplinary debate. The book consists of 23 individual chapters that indeed tackle the EU’s accession from the standpoint of three different legal subfields; yet, there is very little exchange between these different chapters or perspectives.
The book is divided into six parts, addressing different aspects of accession. It progressively zooms out, starting with a focus on specific institutional arrangements, including the co-defendant mechanism and prior involvement, to then slowly broaden the view to meta-questions such as pluralism to multilevel protection of human rights within Europe.
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