Get access

Innovative Governance in a Federal Europe: Implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


  • Jennifer W. Reiss

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Associate, White & Case LLP; Former Associate, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law. LL.M., Cambridge University, 2010; J.D., Harvard Law School, 2011; B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2007. Many thanks to Gráinne de Búrca for advice on drafts of this article.


A recent development in European law, less heralded, but no less path-breaking than the Treaty of Lisbon, was the ratification by the EU of its first human rights treaty—the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Concluded as a mixed agreement, the CRPD's pioneering monitoring mechanisms demand a high level of cooperation from both the Union and its Member States. It, thus, provides an opportunity for the Union to further develop a distinctly European notion of federalism by the use of new, innovative governance mechanisms. This article looks at the Union as a federalist project through the prism of the mixed agreement, and specifically the ways that federalism may be balanced within it, using the CRPD as an example. Although the Union has an existing Code of Conduct under the Convention, it lacks true engagement with these issues, and this article proposes changes to that end.