Thursday 10 May 2007

EU Charter intro

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000) brings together, in up-to-date form, the various international and European human rights conventions.

The Charter encompasses freedoms as well as economic and social rights. Its 54 articles form the backbone of individuals’ rights within the European Union, and the Community institutions pay increasing attention to the compatibility of all new legislation with the provisions of the Charter.

The Court of Justice has affirmed that the Charter may be invoked before the Court.

A quick overview of the headings gives an impression of the scope of the Charter:


Article 1 Human dignity
Article 2 Right to life
Article 3 Right to the integrity of the person
Article 4 Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Article 5 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour


Article 6 Right to liberty and security
Article 7 Respect for private and family life
Article 8 Protection of personal data
Article 9 Right to marry and right to found a family
Article 10 Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Article 11 Freedom of expression and information
Article 12 Freedom of assembly and of association
Article 13 Freedom of the arts and sciences
Article 14 Right to education
Article 15 Freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work
Article 16 Freedom to conduct a business
Article 17 Right to property
Article 18 Right to asylum
Article 19 Protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition


Article 20 Equality before the law
Article 21 Non-discrimination
Article 22 Cultural, religious and linguistic diversity
Article 23 Equality between men and women
Article 24 The rights of the child
Article 25 The rights of the elderly
Article 26 Integration of persons with disabilities


Article 27 Workers’ rights to information and consultation within the undertaking
Article 28 Right of collective bargaining and action
Article 29 Right of access to placement services
Article 30 Protection in the event of unjustified dismissal
Article 31 Fair and just working conditions
Article 32 Prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work
Article 33 Family and professional life
Article 34 Social security and social assistance
Article 35 Health care
Article 36 Access to services of general economic interest
Article 37 Environmental protection
Article 38 Consumer protection


Article 39 Right to vote and to stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament
Article 40 Right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections
Article 41 Right to good administration
Article 42 Right of access to documents
Article 43 Ombudsman
Article 44 Right to petition
Article 45 Freedom of movement and of residence
Article 46 Diplomatic and consular protection


Article 47 Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial
Article 48 Presumption of innocence and right of defence
Article 49 Principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties
Article 50 Right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence


Article 51 Scope
Article 52 Scope of guaranteed rights
Article 53 Level of protection
Article 54 Prohibition of abuse of rights

The ones who rant against “Brussels” rarely point out that European integration is based on the rule of law, including protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Often the detractors’ point of view seems to be to banish one set of European Community “red tape” with 27 different national sets of discrimination based on nationality and 27 incompatible sets of bureaucratic obstacles to the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the treaties.

Is this progressive? Is it wise?

Ralf Grahn

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