Improving human rights protection through EU accession to the ECHR : a minority perspective. Will EU accession to the ECHR have a substantive positive impact on the protection of minority rights in the EU?

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Üşüdür, Ana Sophie Bisgaard
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This thesis addresses the question of whether the EU accession to the ECHR will have a substantive positive impact on the protection of minority rights in the EU. This assessment is based on an analysis of case law from the ECtHR and the CJEU. The chosen cases relate to the following communities: Roma, Muslim, Jewish, and Rainbow community. This thesis uses the term ‘rainbow community’ as an umbrella term for the LGBTQIA+ community in an attempt to recognize that this community is continuously expanding and accepting people whose characteristics make them uniformly vulnerable. The cases analyzed include D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic, Dudgeon v. the United Kingdom, M’Bala M’Bala v. France, Pavel Ivanov v. Russia, S.A.S. v. France, V.C. v. Slovakia, and Vejdeland and Others v. Sweden of the ECtHR, and C-71/11 and C 99/11 (Bundesrepublik Deutschland v Y and Z), C-83/14 (CHEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria AD (…)), C-157/15 (Achbita), C-673/16 (Relu Adrian Coman), C‐451/16 (MB v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), C-336/19 (Centraal Israëlitisch Consistorie van België), C-804/18 and C-341/19, WABE and MH Müller Handel of the CJEU, including short references to other cases. The cases demonstrate the approaches of the two courts in assessing issues relating to minority rights, such as religious and cultural rights, and the rights of sexual orientation and gender identity. The analysis reveals that the two courts approach the cases similarly, however, the CJEU is more restricted in its ability to express explicit support, whereas the ECtHR is freer to do so. In some cases, the CJEU is able to show implicit support toward a certain cause by the effort it makes in its assessment. In other cases, the CJEU is reluctant to overstep its competence and declines to comment on issues that are deemed irrelevant for the case. The ECtHR continues to trailblaze in the fight for human rights protection in Europe by making bold statements and groundbreaking judgments. Through the analysis of the abovementioned, this thesis concludes that while the EU accession to the ECHR will have a substantive positive impact on the protection of human rights in general, it is doubtful that the accession will lead to a vastly different assessment of minority rights, though the strength of the competences of the ECtHR will be a significant improvement on the protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities in the European Union.
Second semester University: KU Leuven
European Union, European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Court of Justice of the European Union, case law, minority rights