European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Another Type of Deficit?

Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Shaping of the European Union’s Linkage Strategy

Keywords human rights, corporate social responsibility, linkage strategy
Authors Aurora Voiculescu
Author's information

234138 Aurora Voiculescu
Westminster International Law and Theory Centre, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. A first draft of this paper was presented at the workshop organised by the Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER) ‘Linking trade and non-commercial interests: the EU as a global role model?’, on 9 November 2012 at the TMC Asser Institute, The Hague. I am very grateful to the workshop participants as well as to Tamara Takacs, Andrea Ott, and Angelos Dimopoulos for the very insightful comments that helped me develop the paper further. Of course, all remaining mistakes are entirely mine.
  • Abstract

      This article engages with the European Union’s continuing strategy, in the context of the economic crisis, of addressing the human rights deficit of the current economic model by promoting a multifarious normative linkage between the economic, market-driven sphere and the human rights-anchored social sphere. The article looks into issues of normativity associated with the EU linkage agenda and interrogates some of its institutional and conceptual elements. It contends that, while the linkage discourse depends on a multitude of actors and factors, the EU encompasses a number of features that – by entropy as much as by design – facilitate an interrogation of the normative set-up that currently holds between human rights and the market mechanisms. The first part of the article addresses the linkage or ‘trade and’ debate that carries distinct nuances within contemporary international economic law. In the second part, the potential as well as the challenges brought about by the EU as a socio-political entity highlight the bringing together of competing normative issues. Lastly, the article considers the EU conceptual inroads in developing the necessary tools for consolidating and addressing the linkage agenda. Through this analysis, the article highlights an essential, dynamic nexus and a search for normative synchronisation between the economic development model and the social model. It is argued that coupling this nexus with a conceptual rethinking can increase the chances of matching the so far rhetorical persuasiveness of the linkage discourse with the so far elusive conceptual coherence and policy consistency.

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