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The Charter of Fundamental Rights - Altering the Relationship Between EU Law and National Law?

Olsson, Ingrid LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
År 2009 blev Europeiska Unionens stadga om de grundläggande rättigheterna juridiskt bindande nästan ett decennium efter det att processen att utarbeta en stadga hade påbörjats. Stadgans status som ett juridiskt bindande dokument väcker naturligtvis nya frågor om det framtida skyddet av mänskliga rättigheterna i Europa samt stadgans förhållande till Europakonventionen såväl som medlemsstaternas konstitutionella rättigheter.

Stadgans allmänna bestämmelser, placerade i det sjunde kapitlet, reglerar dess tillämpningsområde och syftar till att hantera konflikter mellan stadgan och andra källor till skydd för de mänskliga rättigheterna. Det har däremot varit oklart hur dessa bestämmelser ska tolkas och vad de därigenom skulle kunna innebära.... (More)
År 2009 blev Europeiska Unionens stadga om de grundläggande rättigheterna juridiskt bindande nästan ett decennium efter det att processen att utarbeta en stadga hade påbörjats. Stadgans status som ett juridiskt bindande dokument väcker naturligtvis nya frågor om det framtida skyddet av mänskliga rättigheterna i Europa samt stadgans förhållande till Europakonventionen såväl som medlemsstaternas konstitutionella rättigheter.

Stadgans allmänna bestämmelser, placerade i det sjunde kapitlet, reglerar dess tillämpningsområde och syftar till att hantera konflikter mellan stadgan och andra källor till skydd för de mänskliga rättigheterna. Det har däremot varit oklart hur dessa bestämmelser ska tolkas och vad de därigenom skulle kunna innebära. Under våren 2013 avgjorde EU-domstolen slutligen två fall, Åkerberg och Melloni, angående tolkningen av två av dessa allmänna bestämmelser.

Syftet med denna uppsats är därför att undersöka sambandet mellan skyddet av de mänskliga rättigheterna på överstatlig nivå och på nationell nivå mot bakgrund av ny rättspraxis och att svara på frågan om vad stadgan kan få för konsekvenser för förhållandet mellan EU-rätt och nationell rätt.

Som visas i denna uppsats finns det olika sätt att förstå förhållandet mellan EU-rätt och nationell rätt. En uppfattning är att den europeiska rättsordningen är överlägsen de nationella rättsordningarna och att EU-rättsliga bestämmelser därmed alltid måste ges företräde framför nationella bestämmelser om dessa kolliderar. I motsats så syftar begreppet konstitutionell pluralism till att förstå förhållandet i en icke-hierarkisk mening. Enligt de teorier som kallas diskursiv konstitutionell pluralism har EU-rätten utvecklas genom en dialog mellan EU-domstolen och de nationella domstolarna och en pågående dialog mellan domstolarna är också en källa till legitimitet för EU-domstolen.

I Åkerberg och Melloni, klargjorde EU-domstolen slutligen hur två av de allmänna bestämmelserna i stadgan ska tolkas. Det framgår av domstolens avgöranden i dessa två mål att EU-domstolen även fortsättningsvis kommer att påverka skyddet av de mänskliga rättigheterna på nationell nivå i stor utsträckning. Samtidigt är min analys att det är möjligt att förstå EU-domstolens avgöranden som en återspegling av diskursiv konstitutionell pluralism och att domstolens tolkningar av de allmänna bestämmelserna har potential att förena den europeiska rättsordningen med de nationella rättsordningarna. Åkerberg och Melloni stärker därför uppfattningen att förhållandet mellan EU-rätt och nationell rätt bättre kan förstås i en icke-hierarkisk mening. (Less)
Abstract
In 2009, the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union became legally binding almost a decade after the process to draft a Charter had begun. Naturally, the Charter’s status as a legally binding document raises new questions about the future protection of human rights in Europe and the Charter’s relation to the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the Member States’ constitutional rights.

The horizontal provisions of the Charter, placed in the seventh chapter, govern its field of application and aim at managing conflicts between the Charter and other sources of protection of human rights. It has, however, not been clear how these provisions should be interpreted and what they thereby might entail. During the spring... (More)
In 2009, the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union became legally binding almost a decade after the process to draft a Charter had begun. Naturally, the Charter’s status as a legally binding document raises new questions about the future protection of human rights in Europe and the Charter’s relation to the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the Member States’ constitutional rights.

The horizontal provisions of the Charter, placed in the seventh chapter, govern its field of application and aim at managing conflicts between the Charter and other sources of protection of human rights. It has, however, not been clear how these provisions should be interpreted and what they thereby might entail. During the spring of 2013, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) finally settled two cases, Åkerberg and Melloni, concerning the interpretation of two of these horizontal provisions.

The purpose of this thesis is therefore to examine the relationship between the protection of human rights at supranational level and at national level in light of recent case law and to answer the question of what the implications of the Charter might be for the relationship between EU law and national law.

As is presented in this thesis, there are different ways of understanding the relationship between EU law and national law. One understanding is that the European legal order is superior to the national legal orders and that provisions of EU law therefore must prevail over provisions of national law in case of a conflict. In contrast, the concept constitutional pluralism seeks to understand the relationship in a non-hierarchical sense. According to the theories that are called discursive constitutional pluralism, EU law has developed through a dialogue between the ECJ and the national courts and an on-going dialogue between the courts is also a source of legitimacy for the ECJ.

In Åkerberg and Melloni, the ECJ finally clarified how two of the horizontal provisions of the Charter should be interpreted. It is evident from the Court’s ruling in these two cases that the ECJ will still influence the protection of human rights at national level to a great extent. At the same time, my analysis is that it is possible to understand the ECJ’s rulings as a reflection of discursive constitutional pluralism and that the Court’s interpretations of the horizontal provisions have the potential to reconcile the European legal order with the national legal orders. Consequently, Åkerberg and Melloni further strengthens the notion that the relationship between EU law and national law is better understood in a non-hierarchical sense. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Olsson, Ingrid LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU law, Fundamental Rights
language
English
id
3802390
date added to LUP
2013-06-13 15:36:37
date last changed
2013-06-13 15:36:37
@misc{3802390,
  abstract     = {In 2009, the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union became legally binding almost a decade after the process to draft a Charter had begun. Naturally, the Charter’s status as a legally binding document raises new questions about the future protection of human rights in Europe and the Charter’s relation to the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the Member States’ constitutional rights. 

The horizontal provisions of the Charter, placed in the seventh chapter, govern its field of application and aim at managing conflicts between the Charter and other sources of protection of human rights. It has, however, not been clear how these provisions should be interpreted and what they thereby might entail. During the spring of 2013, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) finally settled two cases, Åkerberg and Melloni, concerning the interpretation of two of these horizontal provisions. 

The purpose of this thesis is therefore to examine the relationship between the protection of human rights at supranational level and at national level in light of recent case law and to answer the question of what the implications of the Charter might be for the relationship between EU law and national law. 

As is presented in this thesis, there are different ways of understanding the relationship between EU law and national law. One understanding is that the European legal order is superior to the national legal orders and that provisions of EU law therefore must prevail over provisions of national law in case of a conflict. In contrast, the concept constitutional pluralism seeks to understand the relationship in a non-hierarchical sense. According to the theories that are called discursive constitutional pluralism, EU law has developed through a dialogue between the ECJ and the national courts and an on-going dialogue between the courts is also a source of legitimacy for the ECJ. 

In Åkerberg and Melloni, the ECJ finally clarified how two of the horizontal provisions of the Charter should be interpreted. It is evident from the Court’s ruling in these two cases that the ECJ will still influence the protection of human rights at national level to a great extent. At the same time, my analysis is that it is possible to understand the ECJ’s rulings as a reflection of discursive constitutional pluralism and that the Court’s interpretations of the horizontal provisions have the potential to reconcile the European legal order with the national legal orders. Consequently, Åkerberg and Melloni further strengthens the notion that the relationship between EU law and national law is better understood in a non-hierarchical sense.},
  author       = {Olsson, Ingrid},
  keyword      = {EU law,Fundamental Rights},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Charter of Fundamental Rights - Altering the Relationship Between EU Law and National Law?},
  year         = {2013},
}