The Triangular Relationship between Fundamental Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in the EU: Towards an EU Copenhagen Mechanism
CEPS Paperbacks, 2013
101 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 20, 2013
This study examines the protection of fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law in the European Union, and the challenges that arise in reflecting on ways to strengthen EU competences in these contested terrains. It provides a ‘state of play’ and critical account of EU-level policy and legal mechanisms assessing the relationship between rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in the member states of the Union. The cross-cutting challenges affecting their uses, effective implementation and practical operability constitute a central point of the analysis. The study argues that the relationship between rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights is co-constitutive. Any future rule of law-related policy discussion in the EU should start from an understanding of the triangular relationship between these dimensions from the perspective of ‘democratic rule of law with fundamental rights’, i.e. the legally based rule of a democratic state that delivers fundamental rights. The three criteria are inherently and indivisibly interconnected, and interdependent on each of the others, and they cannot be separated without inflicting profound damage to the whole and changing its essential shape and configuration.
Keywords: fundamental rights, Democracy, Rule of Law, EU, Copenhagen Mechanism, protection of fundamental rights
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