EU Law


Theadvancement and safeguarding of human rights in the charter of basicrights represents a satisfactory form of protection than the timebefore its adoption because previously there were no clear lawsregarding human rights. Historically before the adoption of the humanrights charter, the legal defense of a person against interference bythe state was largely an issue for domestic law. The safeguarding ofbasic rights against the community was the work of the court ofjustice where it was used to elaborate a list of rights, which couldbe drawn from the ideologies of public decree and the collectivestatutory customs of the member nations1.Nonetheless, the residents, therefore, could not easily access thenonexistence of a written list of basic rights, which was binding tothe European public, making it a matter of concern.

Despitethese challenges, which existed before, the human rights in the EUCharter apparently spell out the basic rights, which must be valuedwhen implementing the laws of the EU. Moreover, it is also considereda legally binding instrument drawn to give visibility and recognizethe situation of basic rights in the permissible order of the union.Previously, an individual could not access a list of the fundamentalrights, making it a problem for the people. Even worse, the treatiesused in the European Union did not include a list of human rights butonly a reference to the fundamental freedoms. After the treaty ofLisbon was adopted in 2009, the situation significantly changed asthe EU now had fundamental rights charter that is legally binding.

Thejourney to adopt basic human rights did not start recently. Theprocess was accelerated in the 19th century when the internationallaw had started to develop an interest in the treatment of aliens,prohibition of slavery and humanitarian intervention. Towards the endof the century, problems such as prisoners of war and injuredcombatants of war started being addressed by multilateral treaties.Even though the creation of the League of Nations and theorganization of international labor after 1914-18 provided motivationto the international protection of employees and minority rights,reliance on international law for relief was hard for an individual.As a result, the increased totalitarianism, which existed before andthroughout 1939-45 prompted a more dynamic concern for human rightsthrough the creation of charters which guaranteed enforcement of newinstitutions2.One significant development, which was arrived at in this era, is theAtlantic Charter of 1941 that was meant to offer prominence to humanrights and the international law, therefore, promising a freshbeginning in the era of post-war.

Therewas also need to adopt and reinforce the fortification of fundamentalrights because of changes in social progress, society technologicaland methodical developments through making the human rightsdiscernable in the agreement. The basic rights charter offers theEuropean Union with a new thing3.It is a document, which is at the core of human rights, andcomparable to the United States bill of rights. The charter isextremely different in the way it is executed, and it reflects itshistorical background and distinct European perspective on the natureof the society and the people. Though it was proposed in 1999, ittook ten years after the ratification of the European reform treatyin 20094.The charter has 54 articles, which state the fundamental rights inareas that are diverse such as equality, life, education, physicalintegrity, healthcare, consumer activity protection of theenvironment and an individual’s access to justice. Therefore, theprotection and adoption of human rights are certain having a profoundeffect on what it mean to be in Europe in the 21st century.

Despitethese substantial advances made since 1945 to adopt and protect humanrights, the start of the 21st century clearly showed that there wasno room for complacency. New threats to the establishment of humanrights and communities in both political and legal discourse emergedparticularly from organized crime and terrorism, human traffickingtogether with the drug trade. The basis of meddling with human rightsguarantees was increasingly parties that were non-state and thereforerequired the advancement of positive duties upon such nations toensure there is effective human rights protection in the privatesector. Worth noting is the technology advancements which brought newchallenges in guaranteeing respect for private life especially whenit is apparent that such technologies can assist offering the sameprotection for individuals.

Thecharter is primarily comprised of basic rights is subdivided in seventitles where six have been dedicated to a catalog of particular typesof rights while remaining to clarify the array of application of thecharter together with the values which oversee its clarification5.One important feature of the agreement is the inventive alignment ofprivileges where it has abandoned the customary difference amongstpolitical and civil rights together with social and economic rights.At the same time, this charter has made a clear distinction amidprinciples and rights where according to Article 52(5) the principlesare supposed to be applied through supplementary lawmaking and onlybecome significant for courts in instances, which involved thelegality and interpretation of such laws.6

Thefundamental chunk of the agreement is partitioned into Title 1, whichdefends the rights to human self-respect, integrity, and life of anindividual and reiterating prohibition against slavery and torture7.Title 11 talks about freedoms, and it upholds the rights of therespect for family life, privacy, rights to liberty, rights tofreedom of thought, right to finding a family and marry, the right toassembly, expression, conscience, and religion8.Even so, it affirms the right to asylum education work and property.Title 111 talks about equality and it reiterate the right tonon-discrimination and equality together with respect for religious,cultural and the diversity of linguistics. It also goes further togrant specific protection to the children rights persons withdisabilities and the elderly individuals.

TitleIV ensures there is solidarity through the protection workers’rights including fair and just conditions of work together withcollective bargaining. It also acknowledges additional principles andrights such as social security entitlement and the right to accesshealthcare. Title V on the hand is made up of the Citizens Rightswhere it has cataloged the rights all citizens within the EuropeanUnion. The privileges to contest in municipal elections, the EuropeanParliament, the privileges to petition, to good administration, toaccess documents, the right to freedom of residence, movement, anddiplomatic protection. Lastly, Title VI talks about justice, and itreaffirms the rights to fair trial and effective remedy, ithighlights about the right to be protected against jeopardy, theprinciples of proportionality and legality of criminal offenses.9

Eventhough the charter reiterates privileges previously present in theaffiliate nations and which were documented as being a portion of theuniversal values of the European Union law, it is also inventive insome way. For example, age, incapacity, and sexual orientation areplainly stated as the forbidden basis of judgment. Also, theagreement incorporates some rights which are contemporary as it isindicated by the prohibition of cloning humans through reproduction.The primary significance of the charter nonetheless is not hidden inits innovative appeal but the explicit recognition of the centralrole which basic rights play in the permissible set up of theEuropean Union. Therefore, the agreement openly recognizes that theEuropean Union is a community of values and rights where the basicrights are in the center of the European Union.

Itis, therefore, essential to note that previously, the Union carriedout its activities under the rule that was designed only for a fewstates but to realize its potential, it had to modernize the way itoperated. Support to have the European Union work on issues affectingthe entire member states also made it possible for the adoption ofbasic rights charter. Issues such as security, climate change, andenergy made the union come together and as a result, the adoptedcharter is now in a position to adapt to the frameworks, which ituses to operate so that it can now tackle all the issues in themodern world. Specifically, the Lisbon treaty has led to bettereffectiveness in the process of decision making with increasedaccountability to human rights and democracy through linking thelinking the national parliaments with the European Parliament andincreasing external coherence10.In the end, all these improvements have equipped the European Unionwell to preserve the welfares of the populaces on daily basis.


Craig,Paul. The Lisbon Treaty: law, politics, and treaty reform. OxfordUniversity Press, 2010.

Franklin,Christian. &quotLegal Status of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rightsafter the Treaty of Lisbon, The.&quot&nbspTilburgL. Rev.&nbsp15(2010): 137.

Kokott,Juliane, and Christoph Sobotta. &quotThe charter of fundamentalrights of the European Union after Lisbon.&quot (2010).

1 Role of Court of Justice: Ensuring EU law is interpreted and applied the same in every EU country ensuring countries and EU institutions abide by EU law

2 In cases where the Charter does not apply, the protection of fundamental rights is guaranteed under the constitutions or constitutional traditions of EU countries&nbspand&nbspinternational conventions&nbspthey have ratified.

3 This Charter reaffirms, with due regard for the powers and tasks of the Community and the Union and the principle of subsidiarity, the rights as they result, in particular, from the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to the Member States, the Treaty on European Union, the Community Treaties, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Social Charters adopted by the Community and by the Council of Europe and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and of the European Court of Human Rights

4 Juliane, Kokkot and Christoph Sobotta. &quotThe charter of fundamental rights of the European Union after Lisbon.&quot (2010).

5 The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) entrenches: all the rights found in the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU the rights and freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and other rights and principles resulting from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries and other international instruments.

6 Craig, Paul. The Lisbon Treaty: law, politics, and treaty reform. Oxford University Press, 2010.

7 Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.

8 Franklin, Christian. &quotLegal Status of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights after the Treaty of Lisbon, the.&quot Tilburg L. Rev. 15 (2010): 137.

9 Ibid

10 On 1 December 2009, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Charter became legally binding on the EU institutions and on national governments, just like the EU Treaties themselves.