Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. the Treaty of Lisbon's Objectves and Principles

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. the Treaty of Lisbon's Objectves and Principles

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Human rights, democracy and the State of Law are essential values of the European Union. Included ever since the founding treaties, these notions have been consolidated by adopting a series of documents, which facilitated progressing through institutional stages. Thus, the history of the European Union can be traced by considering the evolution of protecting human rights, which ended up in definitely influencing both the shape and the current functions of the organization. Furthermore, through each step which established new regulations that served to develop the European Union, new guarantees regarding human rights were provided (Moroianu Zlătescu, 2008: 119-120).

With the initial structure, that of an economic construct, and the manner of making decisions, first the European Community and then the European Union managed to build unity and acting abilities, both superior to those of any other European cooperation organizations. The integrating process for this space was done by setting four categories of fundamental rights for the Union's Market (free movement of goods, persons, services and capital), to which the European Union added eliminating obstacles to free movement, harmonizing laws, setting up a democratic and instrumental process for making decisions, based primarily on applying Community acquis (Peers and Ward, 2004: 64).

For the first time in European history, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights brings together in a single document the entire array of civil, political, economic and social rights (Fuerea, 2006: 72-73). The Charter, abiding by both the competencies and obligations and the principle of subsidiarity, acknowledges, reaffirms and develops fundamental legal provisions regarding human rights; these rights are mainly derived from the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to Member States, from the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, from the social charters adopted by the Union, as well as from the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights case laws.

The Charter is also an innovation in terms of contents, being a lot more comprehensive than the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. While the Convention is limited to showcasing the Fundamental Rights, the Charter also covers other areas, such as the right to good administration, social rights of workers, protection of personal goods or bioethics (Moroianu Zlătescu Irina, 2008: 126). As the literature supports (Ciolofan, 2008: 161), the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights' impact needs to be analyzed while taking into account the objectives pursued at the time of its elaboration, the innovations in protecting the rights it grants and the state it grants them to, which might determine a further intervention of the Court of Justice of the European Union in order to ensure its legal force, but especially by outlining the position granted as a consequence of its inclusion in the project for the European Constitution and of being acknowledged as a mandatory legal force, as per the Lisbon Treaty. At that moment in history, novelty elements, reflecting its legal influence, could be identified when analyzing the Charter's provisions. Thus, even from its preamble, there is mention to maintaining and developing common values, cultural diversity, as well as traditions characteristic of the European peoples. Moreover, the preamble also encompasses ideas referring to both respecting the Community's competencies and obligations, and to the principle of subsidiarity, to the rights deriving from constitutional traditions, to the international obligations common to Member States, to Community Treaties, to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as to the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights case laws. …

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