Tackling coherence and consistency in the EU's external human rights policy

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Taufar, Patrik
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Global Campus
The current discourse in the field of the external human rights policy of the European Union (EU) is strongly oriented toward the so-called “challenge of (in)coherence” . This is visible in academic as well as in policy-making outputs. In this context, the largest academic project on the EU and Human Rights of the past years, the FP7 Frame project aiming at ´Fostering Human Rights among EU (internal and external) policies´, identified coherence as one of three major cross-cutting challenges for the fulfilment of the EU´s strong commitment to compliance with, and promotion of human rights standards. It is remarkable that the challenge of (in)coherence has been identified primarily as the result of technical obstacles at the side of the EU´s institutional system. Firstly, incoherence occurs because “institutional structures and mandates in the EU are notoriously complicated and do not allow for efficient coordination.” The second reason for the incoherence of the EU’s human rights policy is supposedly the fact that “frames of reference in different policy fields are also different, and do not all align with the human rights agenda with the same intensity.” Finally, the third, non-technical, but political and strategic reason may be that “the Union´s many competences result in its obligation to cater to different interests, some of which may consider human rights to be a hindrance.”
human rights, foreign policy, European Union, European External Action Service
Taufar P., ‘Tackling Coherence and Consistency in the EU’s External Human Rights Policy’, (2017) Global Campus Working Paper 4/17, available at https://doi.org/20.500.11825/492