Rights Protection squared – How the CJEU and the ECtHR will get along in the future

By EVIN DALKILIC, STEFAN MARTINI and HANNES RATHKE

On Monday, only two days after the royal wedding, a conference with a highly distinguished band of legal professionals turned to the more civilian question of EU rights litigation: current and former judges of European and national courts, representatives of States and of the EU as well as legal scholars reported on and discussed future challenges to the pluralized fundamental rights protection within Europe. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 the European lawyer can now choose from a confusing, multi-layered normative system: There are the national fundamental rights, the four freedoms of the European internal market, the fundamental rights deriving from the case-law of the CJEU, the rights and principles laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as the freedoms of the European Convention on Human Rights after the EU’s long-awaited accession.

The difficult accession of the EU to the ECHR

Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, reminded the audience in her keynote speech of the EU’s promise to accede to the ECHR. Art. 6 paragraph 2 TEU imposes an obligation on the EU to achieve this end – and consequently binds the EU Member States to support this step. The Commissioner stated that, from her point of view, the conduct of the United Kingdom in the accession process was particularly frustrating. After thirty years of struggle, she explained, this step would finally close a gap within the European framework of fundamental rights protection. Reding strongly advocated the view that coherence between the European Legal Orders is possible only with a pan-European minimum standard of fundamental rights ...

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