Is adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights a condition of European Union membership?

This Note looks at what the EU Treaties say about adherence to human rights provisions and considers different views on the compatibility of withdrawal from the European Convention with continued EU membership.

The Government has said recently that it will consider withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisdiction of the Court of Human Rights.

Questions have been raised as to the legal and political consequences of withdrawal from the European Convention, specifically, whether a European Union Member State can withdraw from the Convention while remaining in the EU.

Opinions differ as to whether a Member State can withdraw from the European Convention and remain in the EU, given that the EU Treaties specifically refer to the human rights guarantees in the Council of Europe instrument.