(20) The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

" We believe that the European Union is facing a truly historic choice".


Jean-Pierre Raffarin 


European Court of Justice




National and Community Courts: Role and Power of Appraisal under the Lisbon Treaty


It follows from the above that before the Lisbon Treaty the Charter had a sui generis legal value by virtue of “spill over” and cross-fertilization effects.113

The use of the Charter made by National and European Courts demonstrates the judicial activism in the field of fundamental rights protection, but also confirms the silence and the natural resistance of the political sphere. In fact, it can be argued that “the Courts are what make Europe”, defending the rights which are part of the democratic legitimacy of the EU.114

The Lisbon Treaty addresses the issue by attributing full legal force to the Charter. In doing so it enhances the integration process and improves the degree of legitimacy of the EU. The EU Courts and the national judges will be bound to apply the Charter whenever EU law comes into play. While the latter will no longer be able to avoid this important source of law, the former will lose their wide discretionary power in singling out the general principles of the EU law, determining their interpretation and ultimately their implementation.115



113. S. Rodotà, ‘La Carta come atto politico e documento giuridico’, in A. Manzella, P. Melograni, E. Paciotti, S. Rodotà (eds.), Riscrivere i diritti in Europa (il Mulino, 2001) 73; L.S. Rossi, ‘How fundamental is a fundamental principle? Primacy and fundamental rights after the Lisbon Treaty’ (2008) Yearbook of European Law, 65. L.S. Rossi, ‘Supremazie incrociate: Trattato costituzionale europeo e Costituzioni nazionali, in L. Daniele (ed.) La dimensione internazionale ed europea del diritto nell’esperienza della Corte Costituzionale (ESI, 2007) 399.

114. S. Rodotà, ‘Nel silenzio della politica i giudici fanno l’Europa’, in G. Bronzini, V. Piccone (eds.), La Carta e le Corti. I diritti fondamentali nella giurisprudenza europea multilivello (Chimienti 2007) 27.

115. Cfr. V. Skouris, ‘La protezione dei diritti fondamentali nell’Unione europea nella prospettiva dell’adozione di una Costituzione europea’, in L.S. Rossi, (ed.), Il progetto di Trattato-Costituzione. Verso una nuova architettura dell’Unione europea (Giuffré 2004) 249. On the position adopted by the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic with regard to the Charter, see G. Di Federico, n. 106 above







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