The new Global Strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy at a time of human rights crises

Chiara Altafin*, Veronika Haász, Karolina Podstawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article explores whether the Global Strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy adds new significance to the human rights commitment spelled out in EU Treaties and elaborated in other sectoral, strategic documents. In particular, it investigates whether the Strategy's take on human rights continues or complements the Union's earlier approach in the field or prioritises them in the Union's activities. The article commences with an identification of the modalities through which the new Strategy voices human rights both as values and objectives in EU external policies. This is done against the background of coherence and resilience as organising concepts of the Union's external action and the Global Strategy itself. It goes on to draw from our research findings of three case studies as focused on the EU human rights and rule of law failure at home (Poland and Hungary), at its borders (in relation to migration), and in its closest vicinity (Ukraine). These serve as the background for the analysis of how the pursuit of human rights objectives is continued, complemented or prioritised against the background of and with the use of the two foundational concepts. It is contended that coherence and resilience advance (if at times modestly) the existing EU human rights agenda, continuing earlier approaches (for example, ensuring a comprehensive human rights approach to conflict and crisis) or complementing them (for example, using and investing in all instruments aimed at conflict prevention, management, resolution and stabilisation; connecting the internal and external spheres and policies). The migration policyremains a problematic one, as the implementation of the rhetorical commitment to the prioritisation of human rights does not stand trial with the general atmosphere in European and world politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-143
Number of pages22
JournalNetherlands quarterly of human rights
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • European Union
  • LAW
  • RULE
  • coherence
  • crises
  • global strategy
  • human rights
  • resilience

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