The EU and the European Convention on Human Rights

Accession to the ECHR is one of the conditions for entry into the European Union

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – Patrick Smyth’s remark that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its court have “nothing to do with the EU” deserves scrutiny (“Knee-jerk nationalist rejection of the ECHR by the UK would set a terrible example for autocracies”, Opinion & Analysis, May 18th).

Accession to the ECHR is one of the conditions (listed among the 1993 Copenhagen criteria) for entry into the European Union.

The accession of the EU, itself, to the convention became a legal obligation under Article 6(2) of the Treaty of Lisbon. Negotiations on the EU’s accession continue.

Whatever you think of the ECHR (with judges from serial human-rights-abusing Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova – leavened with others from the comic opera states of Montenegro, San Marino and Andorra), it is integral to the structure of the EU.

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That Russia was a party to the ECHR until September 2022 doesn’t say much for the convention’s role as “an important pillar of the universalist defence of human rights”. – Yours, etc,

Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.

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