Strasbourg, 05.04.2013 – Negotiators for the 47 Council of Europe Member States and the European Union have finalised the draft accession agreement of the European Union to the European Convention on Human rights. The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg will now be asked to give its opinion on the text. Accession of the EU to the ECHR will strengthen the protection of human rights in Europe, by ultimately submitting the EU and its legal acts to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, welcomed the agreement reached by the negotiators. “This is a decisive step, paving the way to EU accession to the European Convention of Human Rights. It will contribute to the creation of a single European legal space, putting in place the missing link in the European system of fundamental rights protection”. Official talks on the European Union’s accession to the European Convention of Human Rights started on 7 July 2010, launched by Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission. Discussed since the late 1970s, the accession became a legal obligation under the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009.