40 Legal Issues of Econ. Integration 297 (2013)
Human Rights and Sustainable Development Obligations in EU Free Trade Agreements

handle is hein.kluwer/liei0040 and id is 317 raw text is: Human Rights and Sustainable Development
Obligations in EU Free Trade Agreements
Lorand BARTELS*
Since the early 1990s, the EU's trade agreements have included a 'human rights clause'
requiring the parties to respect human rights and democratic principles. More recently, beginning
with the 2008 EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement, they have also included
'sustainable development' chapters, which contain obligations to respect labour and environmental
standards. This article considers the extent to which, legally, these two sets of provisions give the
EU the means of implementing its obligations to ensure that its external activities respect human
rights and pursue the objective of promoting sustainable development. It also considers the
desirability of these differences in the EU's approach to the human rights and democratic
principles, on the one hand, and labour and environmental standards, on the other.
1 INTRODUCTION
Since the early 1990s, the EU's trade agreements have included a 'human rights
clause' requiring the parties to respect human rights and democratic principles.
More recently, beginning with the 2008 EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership
Agreement,' they have also included 'sustainable development' chapters, which
contain obligations to respect labour and environmental standards. These sets of
provisions are a central means by which the EU achieves its 'ethical' foreign policy
objectives. This article considers a slightly different question, which is the extent
to which, legally, these two sets of provisions give the EU the means of
implementing its obligations to ensure that its external activities respect human
rights and pursue the objective of promoting sustainable development. It also
considers the differences in the EU's approach to the human rights and
democratic principles, on the one hand, and labour and environmental standards,
University Senior Lecturer in Law and Fellow of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. E-mail:
lab53@cam.ac.uk. An earlier version of this paper appeared in EU Preferential Trade Agreements:
Commerce, Foreign Policy and Development Aspects (David Kleimann ed., European University Institute
(EUI) 2013).
EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement [2008] OJ L 289/I/3.
2   Urfan Khaliq, Ethical Dimensions of the Foreign Policy of the European Union: A Legal Appraisal
(Cambridge U. Press 2008).
Bartels, Lorand. 'Human Rights and Sustainable Development Obligations in EU Free Trade Agreements'.
Legal Issues of Economic Integration 40, no. 4 (2013): 297 314.
© 2013 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands

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