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A European Approach to Human Rights? Universality Explored

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

Countering the universalist tradition of rights, this paper examines a number of European jurisdictions from legal, historical and philosophical perspectives in order to determine whether there exists a common European conception of rights. Through a comparison of a number of specific rights the author observes that there are fundamental differences in the understanding of rights even within the Member States of the European Union. The assumption of rights as universal appears as unfounded as rights are not the same even in all parts of Europe. This conclusion has implications on issues like the Post-Nice Process, the limits of integration, EU enlargement and the use of human rights arguments in the EU external relations.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of International Law, Department of Public Law, University of Helsinki


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