The Parliamentary Assembly, which is following the expansion
of the European Union’s activities in the human rights field, notes
that a number of initiatives have recently been taken to set up
a monitoring mechanism for European Union member States’ compliance
with common values, such as fundamental rights, democracy and rule
of law standards.
The Assembly reiterates its position, according to which one
should avoid the duplication of the Council of Europe’s work and
unnecessary waste of resources. The Council of Europe’s binding
legal instruments, and in particular the European Convention on
Human Rights, constitute an effective system of human rights protection
and promotion of democracy and the rule of law in all its member
States, including those which are also members of the European Union.
Although higher levels of human rights protection are always
welcome, the setting up of parallel mechanisms can lead to double
standards, “forum shopping” and lowering of Council of Europe standards.
Therefore, any initiative in this respect should take into account
the Council of Europe’s role of “benchmark for human rights, rule
of law and democracy in Europe”. Synergies with existing Council
of Europe monitoring mechanisms should also be explored. In any
event, full coherence of standards can only be ensured by the accession, foreseen
in the Treaty on European Union, of the European Union to the European
Convention on Human Rights.