EU Maritime Policy: Rights trump economic interests
In a new article in Journal of European Public Policy, Marianne Riddervold argues that protection of human rights, rather than economic gains, has been a key motivation for EU in establishing high standards in international shipping.
The article 'A matter of principle?' contributes to the debate on the role of norms in European Union (EU) foreign policy by looking at EU policies in the making of a Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).
Given the economic importance of shipping for many EU members, one would expect the EU to promote its economic interests in the International Labour Organization (ILO). However, the EU was described as a human rights promoter and had positions on the MLC that after common EU implementation will increase costs for both ship-owners and national administrations.
How can this be? Riddervold answers by examining the arguments that mobilized the actors to agree to the policies conducted, differentiating between three ideal-types: pragmatic; ethical-political; and moral arguments.
She concludes that moral arguments, supporting a thesis that a concern for establishing global law for the protection of rights, have been particularly important in mobilizing the EU to promote a convention of high standards.