27 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2002
The question of what to do with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the future is controversial because of disagreements on a considerable range of different issues. There is disagreement on what the history of human rights protection in Europe teaches us. There is disagreement on what the current Charter is and what it does. There is disagreement over what giving legal force to the Charter would involve and what its implications would be. There is disagreement on the place that a future Charter of Fundamental Rights should have in the future of European integration, and (indeed) what the future of European integration should be. There is disagreement over the role of the Charter in the development of the European social model. There is disagreement over the role that rights serve in democratic government. There is disagreement over the nature of human rights, and the autonomy of the law that seeks to protect them. There is, finally, disagreement over the benefits of ambiguity. It is my argument in this paper that an informed understanding of the specific options set out in the paper on how to treat the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the future requires an understanding of each of these sets of disagreements. A complex, but vital, task awaits all those concerned with the future of Europe, not least the Convention on the future of Europe established by the European Council at Laeken.
Keywords: Charter of Fundamental Rights, European Union, constitution building, constitutional change, Council of Europe, European Convention on Human Rights, democracy, democratization, European citizenship, European Court of Justice, European identity, European law, europeanization, fundamental rights, human rights, judicial review, law
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