In the late 1980s, when Antonio Cassese (‘Nino’) was a professor of International Law at the European University Institute (‘EUI’), the European Community — as the now European Union was named at the time — asked him to lead a research group on the state of the protection of human rights in the Community. The group produced a three-volume study, edited by Nino himself, Joseph Weiler and Andrew Clapham, which was published in 1992 under the title ‘European Union: the Human Rights Challenge’. This pioneering study paved the way for the further development of human rights law in the European legal space.
In this episode, the co-hosts — Paola Gaeta and Antonio Coco — discuss that work with guest Andrew Clapham (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva), one of the researchers working with Nino on the project. Professor Clapham describes the state of legal protection of human rights in Europe at the beginning of the 1990s and the role they played in the process of European integration. Nino Cassese was also a member of the ‘Comité des Sages’ (namely, Committee of the Wise People), who were tasked by the European Union to devise and propose a Human Rights Agenda for the European Union for the Year 2000. The episode features a testimony about that endeavour by Philip Alston, who led that study at the EUI. The study eventually contributed to the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in 2000, showcasing the EUI as a vibrant intellectual and political hub that ultimately facilitated the adoption of the Charter — as the EUI President, Professor Renaud Dehousse, recently put it.
- A. Cassese, A. Clapham, J. Weiler, ‘What are our Rights? Agenda for a Human Rights Action Plan’, European University Institute, 1990
- A. Cassese, A. Clapham, J. Weiler, ‘European Union: the Human Rights Challenge’, Nomos, 1992
- A. Cassese, C. Lalumiere, P. Leuprecht, M. Robinson, J. Weiler, P. Alston, ‘Leading by Example: a Human Rights Agenda for the European Union for the Year 2000’, European University Institute, 1998
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