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The end of the Cold War has ushered a restructuring of the institutions of the European Community, culminating into its enlargement to Eastern Europe, under the aegis of economic integration, democracy and human rights. This book examines the development and the role of human rights in the European Union, from its inception as an economic co-operation project to an organisation of European States with a political agenda that goes beyond its borders. It argues that human rights have become an important component of the foreign policy of the European Union and that this role has grown from the inception of the Union through the Cold War and thereafter onto the process of enlargement of the Union.
The book goes on to analyse the EU's policy on minorities, as a particular example of human rights. It considers the level of their protection within the EU and the framework of international law, and compares minority rights in the older Member States including France, Germany and the UK, with newer Eastern European states.