Fundamental Rights and the Transformation of Governance in the European Union
The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, Vol. n°9, no. ch. 5, p. 133-175 (2007)
44 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 6, 2014
Shall the adoption of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights lead the European Union to develop an active fundamental rights policy? Rather than asking the classical question of which initiatives need to be taken by the Union in order to improve the protection of fundamental rights, this paper argues in favour of the establishment of a mechanism which would ensure a form of permanent learning between the Member States, in order to encourage progress in the direction of the further realisation of fundamental rights as recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, irrespective of whether this takes the form of legislative developments at the level of the Union. What is advocated here has already been experimented with in certain areas—such as health care, the rights of the child, or, to a limited extent, asylum and immigration. This paper asks whether this should be generalised, and become a permanent component of governance in the EU. It envisages the future of fundamental rights in the European Union as based on a view of rights as having to be permanently reinvented in the new settings in which they are invoked, and as objectives (or ‘values’) the fulfilment of which requires a permanent learning process, both (horizontally) between the Member States and (vertically) between the institutions of the Union and the Member States.
Keywords: Charter of Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Rights in the EU, Collective learning, Subsidiarity
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