Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union (EU) citizens and residents into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. However, its then legal status was uncertain and it did not have full legal effect[1] until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009.

Under the Charter, the European Union must act and legislate consistently with the Charter and the EU's courts will strike down legislation adopted by the EU's institutions that contravenes it. The Charter applies to the Institutions of the European Union and its member states when implementing European Union law.

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The preamble of the Charter
Created2 October 2000
Ratified7 December 2000
Author(s)European Convention
SignatoriesInstitutions and member states of the European Union
PurposeConsolidate and enshrine the broad array of rights afforded to citizens of the European Union


The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (Treaty of Rome) did not include any reference to fundamental or human rights. The EEC Treaty was written a few years after the failure of the European Defence Community Treaty and the European Political Community Treaty. The latter treaty had included rights provisions and Craig and de Búrca argue that, in light of that failure, the drafters of the EEC Treaty wished to eschew any implicitly political elements.[2] However, the idea that the purely economic end of the new EEC Treaty would be unlikely to have any implications for fundamental rights was soon to be tested.

Court cases

Soon after the entry into force of the EEC Treaty, the Community established itself as a major political entity with policy ramifications beyond its economic aims. In 1964, the European Court of Justice handed down its decision in Costa v ENEL, in which the Court decided that Union law should take precedence over conflicting national law. This meant that national governments could not escape what they had agreed to at a European level by enacting conflicting domestic measures, but it also potentially meant that the EEC legislator could legislate unhindered by the restrictions imposed by fundamental rights provisions enshrined in the constitutions of member states. This issue came to a head in 1970 in the Internationale Handelsgesellschaft case when a German court ruled that a piece of EEC legislation infringed the German Basic Law. On a reference from the German court, the ECJ ruled that whilst the application of Union law could not depend on its consistency with national constitutions, fundamental rights did form an "integral part of the general principles of [European Community] law" and that inconsistency with fundamental rights could form the basis of a successful challenge to a European law.[3]

In ruling as it did in Internationale Handelsgesellschaft the ECJ had in effect created a doctrine of unwritten rights which bound the Community institutions. While the court's fundamental rights jurisprudence was approved by the institutions in 1977[4] and a statement to that effect was inserted into the Maastricht Treaty[5] it was only in 1999 that the European Council formally went about the initiating the process of drafting a codified catalogue of fundamental rights for the EU.


In 1999 the European Council proposed that a "body composed of representatives of the Heads of State and Government and of the President of the Commission as well as of members of the European Parliament and national parliaments" should be formed to draft a fundamental rights charter.[6] On being constituted in December of that year the "body" entitled itself the European Convention.[7]

The Convention adopted the draft on 2 October 2000 and it was solemnly proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission on 7 December 2000. It was at the same time, however, decided to defer making a decision on the Charter's legal status.[8] However, it did come with the political weight of having been approved by three powerful institutions and as such was regularly cited by the ECJ as a source of fundamental rights.

Legal force

A modified Charter formed part of the defunct European Constitution (2004). After that treaty's failure, its replacement, the Lisbon Treaty (2007), also gave force to the Charter albeit by referencing it as an independent document rather than by incorporating it into the treaty itself. However, both the version included in the Constitution and the one referenced in the Lisbon Treaty were amended versions of the Charter.

On the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding proposed that Commissioners should swear to uphold all EU treaties and the Charter. On 3 May 2010, the European Commission swore a solemn declaration at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the EU Treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. For the first time, the Commissioners also explicitly pledged to respect the new Charter of Fundamental Rights.[9]

Several states insisted upon an opt-out from national application of the charter (see below for details).

Legal status

Article 2 of the Charter affirms the prohibition on capital punishment in the EU

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 the fundamental rights charter has the same legal value as the European Union treaties. The Charter referred to in the Treaty is an amended version of the 2000 document which was solemnly declared by the same three institutions a day before the signing of the Lisbon Treaty itself.

Article 51(1) of the Charter addresses the Charter to the EU's institutions, bodies established under EU law and, when implementing EU laws, the EU's member states. In addition both Article 6 of the amended Treaty of European Union and Article 51(2) of the Charter itself restrict the Charter from extending the competences of the EU. A consequence of this is that the EU will not be able to legislate to vindicate a right set out in the Charter unless the power to do such is set out in the Treaties proper. Furthermore, individuals will not be able to take a member state to court for failing to uphold the rights in the Charter unless the member state in question was implementing EU law. It is this last point that has been subject to the most debate.

The Charter is not the first attempt to place human rights principles at the core of European Union law. All EU member states are, and candidate states are required to be, signatories to the Council of Europe's European Convention on Human Rights, so that many principles from the Convention, such as the right to a fair trial, were taken as the baseline for European Court of Justice jurisprudence even before their formal reiteration in Charter. In interpreting the human rights protections provided by the general principles of EU law (described in the Court cases section above), the ECJ had already dealt with the issue of whether the rights protected by those general principles applied to member states. Having ruled in Johnston v Royal Ulster Constabulary[10] that a right to fair procedures was one of the general principles of EU law, in Kremzow v Austria[11] the ECJ had to decide whether or not a member state was obliged to apply that principle in relation to a wrongful conviction for murder. Kremzow's lawyers argued that his case came within the scope of EU law on the grounds that his wrongful conviction and sentence had breached his right to free movement within the EU. The ECJ responded by saying that since the laws under which Kremzow had been convicted were not enacted to secure compliance with EU law, his predicament fell outside the scope of EU law.

The wording in Kremzow v Austria, referring to the "field of application of EU law", differs from the wording in the Charter which refers to the implementation of EU law.[12] However, the amended explanatory memorandum issued alongside the Charter in 2007 describes the wording used in the Charter as reflecting ECJ precedent.

The British and Polish protocol

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  States parties
  States with an opt-out

In the negotiations leading up to the signing to the Lisbon Treaty, Poland and the United Kingdom secured a protocol to the treaty relating to the application of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights in their respective countries.

The protocol, in article 1(1) states that the "Charter does not extend the ability of the Court of Justice of the European Union, or any court or tribunal of Poland or of the United Kingdom, to find that the laws, regulations or administrative provisions, practices or actions of Poland or of the United Kingdom are inconsistent with the fundamental rights, freedoms and principles that it reaffirms." Article 1(2) then says that the Title IV of the Charter, which contains economic and social rights, does not create justiciable rights, unless Poland and the UK have provided for such rights in their national laws.

Both countries to which the protocol currently applies had different reasons for negotiating the protocol. The United Kingdom originally opposed a legally binding charter over concerns that it would result in a stream of British citizens going to the European Court of Justice in attempts to enforce their Charter rights in the UK,[13] and in increased costs for business.[14] While the British accepted a legally binding rights charter during the negotiations of the failed European Constitution, they negotiated a protocol during the Lisbon negotiations which, according to the then British Minister for Europe, would ensure that the Charter would not extend the powers of the European Court of Justice over United Kingdom law.[15]

Although their problems with the Charter related to its perceived liberal stance on social issues, in September 2007 the Polish government indicated that they wished to be included in the British protocol.[16]

There is considerable debate concerning the legal effect of the protocol. One view, shared by Jan Jirásek,[17] is that the protocol is an opt-out that excludes the application of the Charter to Poland and the United Kingdom. Another, shared by Ingolf Pernice, is that the protocol is only an interpretative protocol which will either have limited or no legal consequence.[18] Craig and de Burcá argue that the protocol is merely declaratory. It says that the "Charter does not extend the ability" of the ECJ or other court to overturn UK or Polish law, but the ECJ already had the power to do this in any case. Accordingly, the Protocol is "unlikely that it will have any significant effect in practice."[19]

In NS v Home Secretary, the ECJ ruled that Article 1(1) of the protocol "explains Article 51 of the Charter with regard to the scope thereof and does not intend to exempt the Republic of Poland or the United Kingdom from the obligation to comply with the provisions of the Charter or to prevent a court of one of those Member States from ensuring compliance with those provisions."[20]

The United Kingdom's Exit from the European Union ("Brexit")

Under Clause 5(4) of the Great Repeal Bill, the Charter of Fundamental Rights will not be retained in UK law after its exit from the EU.[21] Campaign groups such as Liberty and Amnesty International have stated this is inconsistent with the Great Repeal Bill's aim of legal certainty and the Government's promise of retaining all EU law on the date of withdrawal.[22][23]

Proposed Czech protocol

During the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, Czech President Václav Klaus expressed concern that the Charter would allow families of Germans who were expelled from territory in modern-day Czech Republic after the Second World War to challenge the expulsion before the EU's courts,[24] though legal experts have suggested that the laws under which the German were expelled, the Beneš decrees, did not fall under the jurisdiction of EU law.[25] After Klaus refused to finalize the Czech Republic's ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon unless the country was excluded from the Charter, as Poland and the United Kingdom had been,[24] EU leaders agreed in October 2009 to amend the protocol to include the Czech Republic at the time of the next accession treaty[26][27][28] in a measure designed to persuade Klaus to sign the treaty.[29] He subsequently signed the treaty.

In September 2011, the Czech government formally submitted a request to the Council that the promised treaty revisions be made to extend the protocol to the Czech Republic,[30] and a draft amendment to this effect was proposed by the European Council.[31] However, the Czech Senate passed a resolution in October 2011 opposing their accession to the protocol.[32] When Croatia's Treaty of Accession 2011 was signed in late 2011, the Czech protocol amendment was not included. During the Czech Republic's parliamentary ratification of the accession treaty in the spring of 2012, the government attempted to combine the approval of the Charter opt-out with the ratification bill. However, with the Senate controlled by the opposition parties, their objections to the opt-out could have led to the accession treaty being rejected. As a result, the government decided to separate the proposed opt-out from the accession treaty bill.[33]

A vote on a draft report by the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee in January 2012 recommending against granting the Czech Republic's request to be added to Protocol 30 resulted in a tie.[34] The report argued that Protocol 30 was not functioning as a general opt-out from the Charter, but only allowed the countries to limit the application of subsequent EU laws based solely on the charter. Thus, the Czech Republic would still be bound by the Charter even if they were added to the Protocol. In October 2012, the committee approved the report,[35] and a third draft of the report was published on 11 December 2012.[36] The report was tabled in Parliament during its session on 22 May 2013,[31] and the Parliament voted in favour of calling on the European Council "not to examine the proposed amendment of the Treaties".[30][31][37] The Parliament did, however, give its consent in advance that a treaty revision to add the Czech Republic to Protocol 30 would not require a new convention.[38]

In January 2014, after presidential and parliamentary elections the previous year had resulted in new leadership in the country, new Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier said that he would attempt to have his country's request for an opt-out withdrawn.[39][40] This was confirmed on 20 February 2014 by the new Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who withdrew the request for an opt-out during a meeting with President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso[41][42][43][44] shortly after his newly elected government won the confidence of Parliament.[45] In May 2014, the Council of the European Union formally withdrew their recommendation to hold a Intergovernmental Conference of member states to consider the proposed amendments to the treaties.[46][47][48][49]

The text

The Charter contains some 54 articles divided into seven titles. The first six titles deal with substantive rights under the headings: dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens' rights and justice, while the last title deals with the interpretation and application of the Charter. Much of Charter is based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), European Social Charter, the case-law of the European Court of Justice and pre-existing provisions of European Union law.

Raising the Charter's profile

The EU has attempted to raise the profile of the Charter so that citizens are more aware of their rights. For example, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has produced apps for iOS[50] and Android[51] with the text of the Charter in all EU languages and related information. It has also published mini-versions of the Charter in all EU languages.

In 2010, the FRA put out a tender for poets to turn the Charter into an 80-minute-long epic poem, with music, dance and multimedia elements. This was also to raise awareness and to simplify the legal text into more understandable language.[52][53] However, Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom & Security, wrote to the director of the FRA slamming the idea on cost and dignity grounds and instructing him to cancel the project.[54]

See also


  1. ^ Craig, Paul; Grainne De Burca; P. P. Craig (2007). "Chapter 11 Human rights in the EU". EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-19-927389-8.
  2. ^ Craig, Paul; de Búrca, Gráinne (2003). EU Law, Text, Cases and Materials (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 318.
  3. ^ Case 228/69, Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH v. Einfuhr und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel [1970] ECR 1125; [1972] CMLR 255.
  4. ^ Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission Concerning the Protection of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (OJ C 103, 27/04/1977 P. 1)
  5. ^ Article F of the Maastricht Treaty Maastricht Treaty.
  6. ^ Presidency Conclusions: Cologne European Council 3 And 4 June 1999, Council of the European Union, retrieved 23 December 2009
  7. ^ The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, European Parliament, 21 February 2001, retrieved 23 December 2009
  8. ^ European Council – Nice 7–10 December 2000: Conclusions of the Presidency, European Parliament, 11 December 2000, retrieved 23 December 2009
  9. ^ "European Commission swears oath to respect the EU Treaties". Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  10. ^ Case 222/84 [1986] ECR 1651, [1986] 3 CMLR 240.
  11. ^ C-299/95 [1997] ECR I-2629, [1997] 3 CMLR 1289.
  12. ^ Craig, Paul; de Búrca, Gráinne (2007). EU Law, Text, Cases and Materials (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 402.
  13. ^ Ian Black (28 May 2003). "New sticking points for Blair in draft text". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  14. ^ Nicholas Watt (1 September 2000). "Vaz blames press for dislike of EU". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  15. ^ "EU Reform Treaty Abandons Constitutional Approach". Foreign Office. 22 August 2007. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  16. ^ Mark Beunderman (7 September 2007). "Poland to join UK in EU rights charter opt-out". Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  17. ^ Jirásek, Jan. "Application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU in the United Kingdom and Poland According to the Lisbon Treaty" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  18. ^ Pernice, Ingolf (2008), Griller, Stefan; Ziller, Jaques, eds., "The Treaty of Lisbon and Fundamental Rights" (PDF), The Lisbon Treaty: EU Constitutionalism without a Constitutional Treaty?, Wien New York: Springer, retrieved 23 January 2010
  19. ^ Craig, Paul; de Burcá, Grainne. EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials (5th ed.). p. 395. ISBN 978-0-19-957699-9.
  20. ^ Joined Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10, N.S. v Home Secretary and M.E. v. Refugee Applications Commissioner [2011] EUECJ C-411/10 (21 December 2011). Quoted from para. 120.
  21. ^ EU (Withdrawal) Bill - Factsheet 6: The Charter of Fundamental Rights Department for Exiting the European Union
  22. ^ Brexit withdrawal bill to be debated from Dec 4 Reuters
  23. ^ Liberty-Amnesty International-Public Law Project Charter Briefing Liberty
  24. ^ a b David Charter (13 October 2009). "I will not sign Lisbon Treaty, says Czech President". The Times. London. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  25. ^ Vaughne Miller (9 November 2009). "The Lisbon Treaty: ratification by the Czech Republic" (PDF). The House of Commons Library. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
    Steve Peers (12 October 2009). "The Beneš Decrees and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights" (PDF). Statewatch. p. 9. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  26. ^ Council of the European Union (1 December 2009), Brussels European Council 29/30 October 2009: Presidency Conclusions (PDF), 15265/1/09 REV 1, retrieved 23 January 2010
  27. ^ Mahony, Honor (30 October 2009) EU treaty closer to ratification after Czech deal agreed, EU Observer
  28. ^ Gardner, Andrew (29 October 2009) Klaus gets opt-out, European Voice
  29. ^ Andrew Gardner (29 October 2009). "Klaus gets opt-out". European Voice. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  30. ^ a b "European Parliament resolution of 22 May 2013 on the draft protocol on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic (Article 48(3) of the Treaty on European Union) (00091/2011 – C7-0385/2011 – 2011/0817(NLE))". 22 May 2013.
  31. ^ a b c "Application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic. Protocol (amend.)". European Parliament. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  32. ^ "SECOND DRAFT REPORT on the draft protocol on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic (Article 48(3) of the Treaty on European Union)". European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Senate unanimously nods to Croatia's EU accession". Prague Daily Monitor. 26 April 2012. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  34. ^ "European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  35. ^ "Duff welcomes vote against Czech attack on Charter". Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. 9 October 2012. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  36. ^ "Third draft report – on the draft protocol on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic (2011/0817 NLE)" (PDF). European Parliament. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  37. ^ "European Parliament rejects Czech 'opt-out' on charter of fundamental rights" (Press release). 22 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  38. ^ "European Parliament decision of 22 May 2013 on the European Council's proposal not to convene a Convention for the addition of a Protocol on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic, to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (00091/2011 – C7-0386/2011 – 2011/0818(NLE))". 22 May 2013.
  39. ^ "Dienstbier as minister wants scrapping of EU pact's Czech opt-out". Prague Daily Monitor. 27 January 2014. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  40. ^ "Jiří Dienstbier chce, aby Česko požádalo o zrušení výjimky v Lisabonské smlouvě". 29 January 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  41. ^ Fox, Benjamin (20 February 2014). "Czech government to give up EU Charter opt-out". Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  42. ^ "Premiér Sobotka se v Bruselu setkal s předsedou Evropské komise Barrosem i předsedou Evropského parlamentu Schulzem". Government of the Czech Republic. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  43. ^ Bydžovská, Maria (20 February 2014). "Barroso: ČR "resetovala" vztahy s EU". Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  44. ^ "Czech prime minister in Brussels". Radio Prague. 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  45. ^ "Czechs give up EU rights charter opt-out, plan joining fiscal pact". Reuters. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  46. ^ "Press release - 3313th Council meeting" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  47. ^ "List of "A" items". Council of the European Union. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  48. ^ ""I/A" item note" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  49. ^ "Procedure file - 2011/0817(NLE)". European Parliament. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  50. ^ "EU Charter on the App Store on iTunes". 10 December 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  51. ^ "EU Charter". Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  52. ^ Charter of Fundamental Rights to be re-written as 80-minute-long epic poem EUobserver, 1 April 2010
  53. ^ "Charter in Poems" (PDF). European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  54. ^ Phillips, Leigh (29 April 2010) EU commissioner kills off 'undignified' rights charter poem, EU Observer

Further reading

External links


CFR may refer to:

Code of Federal Regulations of the United States

Council on Foreign Relations, Private U.S. foreign policy think tank

Campaign finance reform in the United States

Centre for Foreign Relations, Tanzania

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Compact fusion reactor

Cost and Freight, word used in international commerce

CFR Cluj, Romanian football club

Case fatality rate, term for proportion of people dying of a disease

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a Catholic religious community

Caen – Carpiquet Airport in northern France

Căile Ferate Române, the Romanian state railway

Canadian Finals Rodeo

Certified first responder

Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, Nigerian National Honour

Crest factor reduction, a digital signal processing technique

Centre for Forest Research, Canadian research center

Culdee Fell Railway, fictional railway in W.V. Awdry's Railway Series

23S rRNA (adenine2503-C2)-methyltransferase, an enzyme

23S rRNA (adenine2503-C2,C8)-dimethyltransferase, an enzyme

Coronary flow reserve, a diagnostic cardiac measurement

Capital punishment in Europe

The death penalty has been completely abolished in all European countries except for Belarus and Russia, the latter of which has a moratorium and has not conducted an execution since 1999. The absolute ban on the death penalty is enshrined in both the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) and two widely adopted protocols of the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and is thus considered a central value. Of all modern European countries, San Marino, Portugal and the Netherlands were the first to abolish capital punishment, whereas only Belarus still practices capital punishment in some form or another. In 2012, Latvia became the last EU Member State to abolish capital punishment in wartime.As of 2017, in Europe, the death penalty for peacetime crimes has been abolished in all countries except Belarus, while the death penalty for wartime crimes has been abolished in all countries except Belarus and Kazakhstan. (Kazakhstan is a country situated partly in Europe and partly in Asia).

In Russia the death penalty has been indefinitely suspended (under moratorium), therefore is uncommon but not unheard of.Except for Belarus, which carried out two executions in 2018, the last executions by a European country occurred in Kazakhstan in 2003, and Ukraine in 1997.

Criticism of monarchy

Criticism of monarchy can be targeted against the general form of government—monarchy—or more specifically, to particular monarchical governments as controlled by hereditary royal families. In some cases, this criticism can be curtailed by legal restrictions and be considered criminal speech, as in lèse-majesté. Monarchies in Europe and their underlying concepts, such as the Divine Right of Kings, were often criticized during the Age of Enlightenment, which notably paved the way to the French Revolution and the proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy in France. Earlier, the American Revolution had seen the Patriots suppress the Loyalists and expel all royal officials. In this century, monarchies are present in the world in many forms with different degrees of royal power and involvement in civil affairs:

Absolute monarchies in Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, the United Arab Emirates, and the Vatican City;

Constitutional monarchies in the United Kingdom and its sovereign's Commonwealth Realms, and in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and others.The twentieth century, beginning with the 1917 February Revolution in Russia and accelerated by two world wars, saw many European countries replace their monarchies by republics, while others replaced their absolute monarchy with constitutional monarchy. Reverse movements have also occurred, with brief returns of the monarchy in France under the Bourbon Restoration, the July Monarchy, and the Second French Empire, the Stuarts after the English Civil War and the Bourbons in Spain after the Franco dictatorship.

European Convention

European Convention may refer to:

The European Convention (child abduction)

The European Convention on Human Rights, a human rights treaty.

The European Convention (1999–2000) which drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The Convention on the Future of Europe which drafted the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe

In general usage, a new "European Convention" can be called to draft a new EU treaty, uniquely composed of national EU governments, national MPs, MEPs and the European Commission.

European Convention (1999–2000)

The European Convention was the 1999 convention which drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The convention was called in 1999 by the Cologne European Council to consolidate rights for EU citizens and enshrine them at EU level.The meeting was composed of Members of the European Parliament, members of the national parliaments of the European Union, representatives from European Union member state governments and a representative of the European Commission with observers from other EU institutions. The convention was chaired by Roman Herzog.It met for the first time in December 1999 and on 2 October 2000 it presented its draft document. Later that month the European Council approved it, in November the European Parliament followed suit and it was formally proclaimed by the leaders of the institutions of the European Union on 7 December 2000 in Nice.The document did not gain legal force until 2009 when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force with provisions to make the Charter, and the European Convention on Human Rights on which it was based, legally binding.

European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is a standing committee of the European Parliament that is responsible for protecting civil liberties and human rights, including those of minorities, as listed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Its current chair, elected on 7 July 2014, is Claude Moraes, a British Indian Labour MEP.

General principles of European Union law

The general principles of European Union law are general principles of law which are applied by the European Court of Justice and the national courts of the member states when determining the lawfulness of legislative and administrative measures within the European Union. General principles of European Union law may be derived from common legal principles in the various EU member states, or general principles found in international law or European Union law. Amongst others the European Court of Justice has recognised fundamental rights, proportionality, legal certainty, equality before the law and subsidiarity as general principles of European Union law. General principles of law should be distinguished from rules of law as principles are more general and open-ended in the sense that they need to be honed to be applied to specific cases with correct results.

Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González

Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (2014) is a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It held that an Internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal information which appears on web pages published by third parties.The outcome of the ruling is that an Internet search engine must consider requests from individuals to remove links to freely accessible web pages resulting from a search on their name. Grounds for removal include cases where the search result(s) "appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive in the light of the time that had elapsed." If the search engine rejects the request, the individual may ask relevant authorities to consider the case. Under certain conditions, the search engine may be ordered to remove the links from search results.

The decision was claimed as a so-called right to be forgotten, although the Court did not explicitly grant such a right, depending instead on the data subject's rights deriving from Article 7 (respect for private and family life) and Article 8 (protection of personal data) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.The General Data Protection Regulation was mooted to include a right to be forgotten, but between the draft and the final version this was changed to a right to request erasure for a set of specific reasons.

Human rights in France

Human rights in France are contained in the preamble of the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic, founded in 1958, and the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. France has also ratified the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights 1960 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000). All these international law instruments take precedence on national legislation. However, human rights abuses take place nevertheless. The state of detention centres for unauthorized migrants who have received an order of deportation has also been criticized.


Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Małgorzata Gersdorf

Małgorzata Maria Gersdorf (Polish: [mawgɔ'ʐata 'gɛrsdɔrf]; born 22 November 1952) is a Polish lawyer and judge who currently serves as the First President of the Supreme Court of Poland, a position she has held since 2014. She graduated from the University of Warsaw with a law degree in 1975, and obtained a doctorate degree in 1981. She became a professor for the University of Warsaw in 1992, served as Vice-Rector of the University in 2005, and became head of the Law Department in 2008.Politically, Gersdorf was part of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s, and worked in the Supreme Court Office of Jurisprudence and the Office of Supreme Court Analysis in the 1990s. In 1989, after the new post-communist government took over, she was appointed to the Social Conciliation Commission, which helped to get political prisoners back in the workforce. She served as a legal advisor to the Supreme Court, and in 2008 was nominated to be a Judge. She served in that role for six years when she was nominated to be the First President of the Supreme Court, succeeding Stanisław Dąbrowski, who had died earlier in 2014, and Lech Krzysztof Paprzycki, who was an acting First President.After becoming First President of the Supreme Court, in 2017 the Law and Justice party had planned to change the court's structure, including the party nominating its own justices rather than having judges nominate them. In an open letter to colleagues, Gersdorf spoke out against this push, stating that "the courts are easily turned into a plaything in the hands of politicians" and urging fellow judges to preserve the independence of the judiciary. The law was later passed in both legislative chambers but was vetoed by President Andrzej Duda.

The Law and Justice party continued to seek significant changes to the court's system; one measure was to enact mandatory retirement starting on 4 July 2018, which would force Gersdorf and 26 other judges out of the 72 judges in the court to retire, despite the court justices having previously voted in favor of allowing themselves to continue to run until the end of their term. Gersdorf and several of her colleagues are fighting this measure. Backed by public protests, Gersdorf has continued to show up for work, saying that the government is attempting "a purge of the Supreme Court conducted under the guise of retirement reform" and noting that under the Constitution of Poland, her term continues through 2020. The European Commission filed an infringement procedure against the Polish government, stating that the law undermines judicial independence and therefore was a breach of the Treaty on European Union and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which protect the rule of law.

Opt-outs in the European Union

In general, the law of the European Union is valid in all of the twenty-eight European Union member states. However, occasionally member states negotiate certain opt-outs from legislation or treaties of the European Union, meaning they do not have to participate in certain policy areas. Currently, four states have such opt-outs: United Kingdom (four opt-outs), Denmark (three opt-outs), Republic of Ireland (two opt-outs) and Poland (one opt-out).

This is distinct from the enhanced cooperation, a measure introduced in the Treaty of Amsterdam, whereby a minimum of nine member states are allowed to co-operate within the structure of the European Union without involving other member states, after the European Commission and a qualified majority have approved the measure. It is further distinct from Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification and permanent acquis suspensions, whose lifting is conditional on meeting certain benchmarks by the affected member states.

Reasonable time

Reasonable time is that amount of time which is fairly necessary, conveniently, to do whatever is required to be done, as soon as circumstances permit.This phrase is a U.S. legal term that has been a topic of controversy for many years. It is generally used in reference to performing an action or remitting payment, but this is a very vague term which causes litigation problems in many court cases. Uniform Commercial Code section 2-206(2) requires that acceptance of an offer be made within a "reasonable time" if no time is specified:

Where the beginning of a requested performance is a reasonable mode of acceptance, an offeror who is not notified of acceptance within a reasonable time may treat the offer as having lapsed before acceptance.European Union law refers in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to:

A right to good administration:Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union (Article 41)A right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial:Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law (Article 47).In 1998 the European Court of Justice reduced the fine imposed on German business Baustahlgewebe for breach of the EU competition rules. In 1989 the European Commission had adopted a determination that 14 producers of welded steel mesh had engaged in unlawful restrictions of competition. Baustahlgewebe appealed against the decision on 20 October 1989 but the Court of First Instance did not rule on the case until 6 April 1995, five years and six months later. The Court of Justice held that the case had not been determined within a reasonable time and reduced the ECU 3 million fine by ECU 50,000 (a reduction of 1.67%).

Right to petition

The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals, ensured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791). Article 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ensures the right to petition to the European Parliament.

The right can be traced back to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Petition of Right (1628), and Magna Carta (1215).


Solidarity is unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on unities of interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one. The term is generally employed in sociology and the other social sciences as well as in philosophy or in Catholic social teaching. In addition, solidarity is a core concept in Christian democratic political ideology.What forms the basis of solidarity varies between societies. In simple societies it may be mainly based on kinship and shared values. In more complex societies there are various theories as to what contributes to a sense of social solidarity.Solidarity is also one of six principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and December 20 of each year is International Human Solidarity Day recognized as an international observance.

Three generations of human rights

The division of human rights into three generations was initially proposed in 1979 by the Czech jurist Karel Vasak at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He used the term at least as early as November 1977. Vasak's theories have primarily taken root in European law.

His divisions follow the three watchwords of the French Revolution: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The three generations are reflected in some of the rubrics of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes rights that are thought of as second generation as well as first generation ones, but it does not make the distinction in itself (the rights listed are not in specific order).

Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe

The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE; commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty) was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union (EU). It would have replaced the existing European Union treaties with a single text, given legal force to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and expanded Qualified Majority Voting into policy areas which had previously been decided by unanimity among member states.

The Treaty was signed on 29 October 2004 by representatives of the then 25 member states of the European Union. It was later ratified by 18 member states, which included referendums endorsing it in Spain and Luxembourg. However the rejection of the document by French and Dutch voters in May and June 2005 brought the ratification process to an end.

Following a period of reflection, the Treaty of Lisbon was created to replace the Constitutional Treaty. This contained many of the changes that were originally placed in the Constitutional Treaty but was formulated as amendments to the existing treaties. Signed on 13 December 2007, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009.

Treaty on European Union

The Treaty on European Union (2007) is one of the primary Treaties of the European Union, alongside the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The TEU forms the basis of EU law, by setting out general principles of the EU's purpose, the governance of its central institutions (such as the Commission, Parliament, and Council), as well as the rules on external, foreign and security policy.

Turks of Western Thrace

Turks of Western Thrace (Turkish: Batı Trakya Türkleri, Greek: Τούρκοι της Δυτικής Θράκης) are ethnic Turks who live in Western Thrace, in the province of East Macedonia and Thrace in Northern Greece.

According to the Greek census of 1991, there were approximately 50,000 Turks in Western Thrace, out of the approximately 98,000 strong Muslim minority of Greece. Other sources estimate the size of the Turkish community between 90,000 and 120,000. The Turks of Western Thrace are not to be confused with Pomaks nor with Muslim Roma people of the same region, counting 35% and 15% of the Muslim minority respectively.Due to the multiethnic character of the Muslim minority of Greece, which includes Turks, Pomaks and Roma Muslims, the Government of Greece does not refer to it by a specific ethnic background, nor does recognize any of these ethnicities, including the Turks, as separate ethnic minority in Western Thrace, instead referring to the whole Muslim minority on religious grounds, as the "Muslim Minority of Western Thrace" or "Greek Muslims". This is in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne to which Greece, along with Turkey, is a signature member. The Lausanne Treaty, along with the Greek Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, enshrines the fundamental rights of the Turks and other ethnic groups of East Macedonia and Thrace and the obligations towards them.

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