SEMINAR 2.7: The protection of human rights within a context of supranational integration. The european experience on freedom of speech. Protection of indigenous communities and enviroment rights

Date: January 2023

Place: Ateneo de Manila AdMU

UMA leaderS: Ángel Rodríguez Vergara, Felipe Gómez Isa, Deusto, and Melo Cartaxo UNL


Coordinator: Ángel Rodríguez Vergara


• Ángel Rodríguez (PhD) Full professor of Constitutional Law. UMA University (Spain).

• Marie-Luce Paris. Marie-Luce Paris (PHD), Associate Professor of Public Law and Comparative LAW. UCD (Ireland). (p73)

> • Pablo Sánchez-Molina (PhD) Adjunct professor of Constitutional Law. UMA University (Spain). 

• Oliver Roales Buján (PhD candidate)*. Associate professor of Constitutional Law. UMA University (Spain).
• Gaspar González Represa (PhD candidate)**. Researcher in Constitutional Law, UMA University (Spain) and University della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (Italy). 

(*) PhD in 2021 (**) PhD in 2022 


The work package is aimed at providing our Philippines university partners with up-to-date knowledge of main legal interactions between supranational processes of integration and the protection of Human Rights, focusing on Europe and taking Freedom of Speech as a case study. 

After the training, partners will be in disposition to offer a subject on regional integration and Human Rights in their syllabus, isolating valuable European experiences to be explored within the prospective Asian scenario. 

Course Description: 

Protection of Human Rights may at the same time be a powerful tool and a serious obstacle to regional integration. As the European case shows, economic and political integration is usually challenged by issues concerning Human Rights. On the one hand, supranational Courts or other supranational bodies, when established, may be in charge of enforcing supranational (central) regulations which may be opposed to member States law (peripheral) protecting Human Rights. In such cases, Human Rights standards, as established at the State level, and championed by national Constitutional or Supreme Courts, may arise as serious obstacles to further the integration process. But, on other occasions, supranational institutions may pass central regulations aimed at providing all member States which a homogeneous standard of protection of a certain right. When this happens, central regulations not only provide protection for Human Rights, but Human Rights as such are taken as mechanisms to advance a wider (economic, political) integration process. 

This give and take between central and peripheral stages situates Human Rights in a particular position as far as regional integration is concerned. In the European case, 

moreover, political and economic integration was for years at the core of one supranational organization, namely the European Community, while Human Rights integration was the main objective of a different one, the Council of Europe, each with its own, separated, judicial body (the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights). Only when the European Community became the European Union, and once the Union passed in 2000 its own Charter of Fundamental Rights (mirroring the European Convention on Human Rights passed by the Council of Europe, in force since 1950), Human Rights protection became a goal for both European organizations. 

Freedom of speech, taken here as a broad subject (and therefore including not only freedom of expression, but also freedom of assembly, the right to vote and to political campaign, following the tradition enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution) will be taken as the case study to deepen the complex interactions between regional integration and Human Rights protection. 


A. First session: An Introduction. 

1. The European legal integration process, Human Rights and the freedom of Speech: a framework for studying the potential of Human Rights in regional integration processes. 

History of the two European systems and development of their respective HR frameworks, role of original Member States such as France.

B. Second Session: The three legal orders protecting freedom of speech in Europe and the relationship among them. 

  1. National constitutions of member States. 
  2. The European Union. 
  3. The Council of Europe. 

Multilevel order. Aspects of constitutional orders of Member States with the examples of France, Ireland and the UK; domestic provisions on HR; provisions on freedom of expression under ECHR law and EU law.

C. Third session: Regional integration and Freedom of speech within the Council of Europe 

  1. Freedom of speech under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) 
  2. The role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). 
  3. Homogenization versus «national margin of appreciation» on freedom of speech. 
  4. CoE. Role of the ECtHR in general; case law on freedom of expression (seminal cases and more recent ones) and role of the margin of appreciation; example of hate speech as a particular case study on freedom of expression.

D. Furth Sessions: Regional integration and Freedom of speech under European Union Law: 

8. The acquis communitaire on freedom of speech as related to classic European Community Liberties: commercial speech, broadcasting, the internet.
9. Freedom of Speech under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU) and the role played by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). 

10. Horizontal provisions of the CFREU and the role played by the «constitutional traditions» of member States. EU law. Specifically the horizontal provisions of the EU Charter and the role played by the constitutional traditions of the Member States.

E. Fifth Session: Particular aspects of freedom of speech: 

11. Freedom of speech and the so called «right to decide» (derecho a decidir) in Catalonia and Scotland: unilateral secession within a member State and the European Union.

12. Freedom of speech and women ́s rights. 

E. Conclusions: Freedom of speech and regional integration in Europe: what lessons for the Asian scenario? 

SECOND PART OF THIS SEMINARY ON PROTECTION OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AND ENVIROMENT RIGHTS is pending to be included (Coordinators: Felipe Gómez Isa, University of Deusto/Melo Cartaxo UNL).