Civil Rights and EU Citizenship
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Civil Rights and EU Citizenship

Challenges at the Crossroads of the European, National and Private Spheres

Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

The process of European integration has had a marked influence on the nature and meaning of citizenship in national and post-national contexts as well as on the definition and exercise of civil rights across Member States. This original edited collection brings together insights from EU law, human rights and comparative constitutional law to address this underexplored nexus.
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Chapter 3: Securing private actors’ respect for civil rights within the EU: actual and potential horizontal effects of instruments

Sybe de Vries


This chapter explores the potential and limits for enforcing civil rights in a horizontal fashion in Member States, at the level of the ECHR and at the EU level, with a particular focus on EU law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore it focuses on the barriers that citizens face in relying on civil rights norms in a horizontal setting vis-à-vis other individuals, that is, private parties, and on the question of how EU law and EU civil rights can be secured in horizontal settings. First, the concept of horizontal direct effect in EU law is explained, then the various pathways are explored that lead to the protection of civil rights in horizontal settings. The chapter concludes by shortlisting a number of options that could be resorted to in order to further enhance and promote the protection of civil rights by private actors.

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