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The First European Bill of Rights Approved ... Ambigously.

JEF-Europe Press Release

, by JEF-Europe

On 28 November 2007, the plenary session of the European Parliament approved the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and gave a mandate to its President to solemnly proclaim it before the signature of the Reform Treaty on December 13. The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) strongly support this initiative that promotes the awareness on the role of human rights and civil liberties in the European integration process.

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“History has shown that every democracy should be built on the basis of a charter of rights,” explain ed Samuele Pii, President of JEF-Europe. The Magna Charta Libertatum and the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizens - two founding documents for the evolutions and revolutions that brought about European democracy - have a strong symbolic value. Similarly, the Declaration of Universal Rights of the United Nations and the European Convention of Human Rights legitimise international law at global and continental level.

...without reference to a charter of human rights the EU functioned like a construction with no fundation

“During the past 50 years – continues Pii –, the EU functioned with Treaties which had no reference to a charter of human rights, like a construction with no foundations. The Charter that was introduced in 2000 is not legally binding and its proclamation by the Union’s institutions has an ambiguous value. It does not have the status of Community law, thus cases cannot be brought to court solely on the ground of a contradiction against the Charter.”

The Young European Federalists welcome the fact that finally the Charter of Fundamental Rights gains legally binding force. Yet, the Charter is pushed into the EU legal framework through the back door. Its simple mention in the Reform Treaty and the ambiguous protocol on its application to the United Kingdom and Poland void it of its whole symbolic value.

“Politically, this opt-out protocol creates two classes of European citizens. Legally, the case law of the European Court of Justice already refers to the Charter. This ambiguity has to come to an end: all the European citizens should enjoy the same fundamental rights” Pii concluded.

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Image:

- Vignettes and humoristic illustrations on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. 7 December 2006 – 12 January 2007, Italian Cultural Institute, Prague; source: Google Images

Links:

- The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, source: European Parliament

- Jo Leinen on Charter of Fundamental Rights: “we have been waiting 50 years”, source: European Parliament

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