Table of Contents

Research Handbook on EU Institutional Law

Research Handbook on EU Institutional Law

Research Handbooks in European Law series

Edited by Adam Lazowski and Steven Blockmans

Research Handbook on EU Institutional Law offers a critical look into the European Union: its legal foundations, competences and institutions. It provides an analysis of the EU legal system, its application at the national level and the prevalent role of the Court of Justice. Throughout the course of the Handbook the expert contributors discuss whether the European Union is well equipped for the 21st century and the numerous crises it has to handle. They revisit the call for an EU reform made in the Laeken Conclusions in 2001 to verify if its objectives have been achieved by the Treaty of Lisbon and in daily practice of the EU institutions. The book also delves into the concept of a Europe of different speeds, which - according to some - is inevitable in the EU comprising 28 Member States. Overall, the assessment of the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty is positive, even if there are plenty of suggestions for further reforms to re-fit the EU for purpose.

Chapter 8: Fundamental rights protection in the legal order of the European Union

Martin Kuijer

Subjects: law - academic, european law


This chapter examines the protection of fundamental rights within the legal order of the European Union. It will therefore not focus on the role of human rights in the external relationship of the European Union with third countries, including EU candidate (or potential candidate) countries. The chapter will look at the EU’s gradual progression towards a legal obligation to observe human rights in its legal order, leading up to the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Equally, the development of additional internal mechanisms to safeguard human rights standards in the EU’s legal order will be discussed, such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Finally, the need for external scrutiny will be examined and the ongoing negotiations concerning the future accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice, will be covered. The debate about the desirability of the European Union (or its precursors) being legally bound to respect human rights has been ongoing for decades. It is unsurprising that in 1957, when the European Economic Community was founded, human rights were not at the forefront of the concerns of the founding fathers of the Communities. Previous initiatives to establish a more general European Political Community had died a quiet death in 1954, when France’s National Assembly decided not to pursue this avenue.

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