Enhancing EU actions on economic, social and cultural rights within its human rights policy

22-02-2018

Article 21 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) affirms that the EU’s external action should be guided by the principle of ‘the universality and indivisibility of human rights’. However, economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) have received less attention than their civil and political counterparts within this sphere of EU activity. This study analyses the progress made by the EU in implementing its commitment to respect, protect and fulfil ESC rights in its external action, making specific reference to three such rights – namely the right to just and favourable conditions of work, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to education. This study also identifies structural obstacles that may be impeding the ability of the EU to promote these rights in an effective manner, and offers a set of concrete recommendations which aim to further enhance EU action in this regard.

Article 21 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) affirms that the EU’s external action should be guided by the principle of ‘the universality and indivisibility of human rights’. However, economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) have received less attention than their civil and political counterparts within this sphere of EU activity. This study analyses the progress made by the EU in implementing its commitment to respect, protect and fulfil ESC rights in its external action, making specific reference to three such rights – namely the right to just and favourable conditions of work, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to education. This study also identifies structural obstacles that may be impeding the ability of the EU to promote these rights in an effective manner, and offers a set of concrete recommendations which aim to further enhance EU action in this regard.