Rewriting Human Rights Decisions
Edited by Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet
Chapter 7: Re-imagining human rights responsibility: shared responsibility for austerity measures in Federation of Employed Pensioners of Greece (IKA-ETAM) v Greece (ECSR)
The case of Federation of Employed Pensioners of Greece (IKA-ETAM) v Greece, decided on by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) in December 2012, deals with reforms of the Greek pension system as part of the austerity measures taken by Greece in the wake of the financial and economic crises since 2008. These austerity measures were adopted as part of the conditionality attached to the financial assistance provided to Greece by the so-called Troika. In return for financial assistance from EU member states and the International Monetary Fund, Greece had to address its excessive deficit by taking far-reaching economic and social reforms. The rewriting exercise proposes that the ECSR could at least have found the ESC rights violated by Greece against the background of joint responsibility with the EU and the IMF. That would have allowed Greece to ask the EU and the IMF to share in the burden of reparation. The underlying argument is that improving the effectiveness of human rights law may sometimes require rather radical changes, inspiration for which may be found in rather unexpected canons of international law, such as the law of the sea, space law and liability law.
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