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EU and promotion of human rights in the member states: Do we need an internal control mechanism? The case of Greece. Theofania Antoniou PhD candidate Panteion University 4 th Hellenic Observatory PhD Symposium, LSE, June 2009. The framework of the paper- PhD thesis.

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EU and promotion of human rights in the member states: Do we need an internal control mechanism? The case of Greece.

Theofania Antoniou

PhD candidate Panteion University

4th Hellenic Observatory PhD Symposium, LSE, June 2009

i europeanisation of human rights
I.Europeanisation of human rights

I.1The role of supranational institutions, i.e. the Commission:

  • Shaping article 6 TEU through the accession criteria (art 6↔art. 49) combined with lack of:
  • A human rights catalogue in EU treaties
  • A common European practice by member states
  • Case law of ECJ
i 2the role of supranational institutions i e the commission
I.2The role of supranational institutions, i.e. the Commission:
  • Other examples:
  • Rights of people with disabilities,
  • Introduction of the notion of mainstreaming,
  • Wide scope of combating discrimination,
  • Procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings.
ii impact on member states the case of greece
II. Impact on member states. The case of Greece
  • Human rights problems in Greece in 1997-2000: Discrimination and violence both against women and racial, excessive use of police violence, detention duration and conditions, people with disabilities, asylum system, freedom of religion, minority rights, etc.

  • Community policies linked to accession criteria
gender equality racial discrimination and rights of disabled persons
Gender equality, racial discrimination and rights of disabled persons

II.1 Gender equality

  • Greek problems: employment, representation in decision making and domestic violence
ii 1 a gender equality and employment
II.1.a. Gender equality and employment
  • Legally binding:Directives 2000/78, 2002/73 on equal treatment in employment, 2004/113 on equal treatment in the access to goods and services, and directive 2006/54 recasting seven equal treatment directives
  • Impact on Greece: Incorporation of all legally binding texts although with great delays. However implementation is problematic (Greek Ombudsman started to examine equality issues a year ago).
ii 1 b balanced representation in decision making
II.1.b. Balanced representation in decision-making
  • EU initiatives: Soft law mainly: Commission Roadmap for equality between men and women (2006-2010), initiative for the creation of an EU Network for women in decision making (launched on 2008).
  • Greek response: measures for national elections only in 2008.

L. 3636/2008 regarding the percentage of candidates in national elections, L. 3528/2007 regarding the percentage of women in decision making councils of public services, L 2910/2001 regarding municipal and regional elections and 3463/2006 regarding municipal and communal elections.

ii 1 c violence against women
II.1.c.Violence against women
  • EU initiatives: Programs. Communication of the Commission in 1998 (0335 final) combating violence against vulnerable groups including women, DAPHNE programs, launched in 2000 and ended in 2008. Legally binding texts refer only to trafficking.
  • Greek response: First law on domestic violence in the end of 2006 (L. 3500/06).
ii 2 racial discrimination
II.2 Racial discrimination
  • A decade ago, poor situation, faced with multi-discrimination, at disadvantage in many areas such as access to health care, housing, employment or schooling.
  • Today, situation remains more or less the same
racial discriminations
Racial discriminations
  • EU initiatives: legally binding: anti-discrimination directive (2000/43/EC). Soft law: Council decision in 2000 for an action program to combat discrimination, the European Council in Nice (2000)requested the member states to submit action plans for social inclusion.
  • Greek response: L. 3304/2005, complied with the Social inclusion Action Plan requirements, while also adopting a six- year specific plan for the integration of Roma.
ii 3 people with disabilities
II.3 People with disabilities
  • In 1997, there was poor implementation of the construction code foreseeing physical access for disabled to private and public buildings. Similarly, the obligation for hiring disabled persons in public and private enterprises of more than 50 people was poorly implemented
  • Today: same problems but on the positive side, government has been taking measures since 2006.
ii 3 people with disabilities1
II.3 People with disabilities
  • EU initiatives: legally binding: Equality Directives of 2000 (43/2000 and 78/2000), Decision in 2001 on the European Year of People with Disabilities (2001/903/EC and Council Regulation of 2006 on the rights of air travelers (1107/2006). Soft law:EU Disability Action Plan (DAP) 2003-2010, mainstreaming disability
  • Greek response: Actions towards raising awareness against discrimination were intensified since 2006. National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010, L. 3709/2008 and L. 3699/2008 on access to sea transportation and education respectively.
remarks deriving from the greek example on the eu impact
Remarks deriving from the Greek example on the EU impact.

The success of a Community human rights policy is linked to:

  • strict monitoring, specific goals and programs
  • enhanced political pressure which derives from the coordinated action in European level.

In Greece the response was better regarding the implementation of specific programs, where the monitoring is linked to funding and involves a variety of governmental and non governmental actors.

concluding remarks and food for thought
Concluding remarks and food for thought
  • The europeanisation of human rights will continue covering an ever growing field of activities/ HR cornerstone of political unification.
  • Suggestions for improving the impact:
  • Specific goals and funding, accompanied by strict monitoring process.
  • Involvement of the FRA
  • Enhanced collaboration between the EU and the Council of Europe