Chartering Europe: The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

This paper interprets the introduction of a European Charter of Fundamental Rights as a further step towards rights as foundational to European law; in other words, making a qualitative leap away from regulations of commerce towards a prospective constitutional moment.

ARENA Working Paper 13/2001 (html)

Agustin José Menéndéz

This article aims at interpreting the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as a further step in the rise of fundamental rights as the foundation of European law. Doing so requires stressing the degree of both continuity and change in the goals of the legal order of the Communities. Until the seventies, the main concern was lying down the preconditions for the effective protection of rights; later on emphasis has been placed on their direct safeguard. This has come hand in hand with the evolutionary transformation of the Community from economic organisation to political community. The Charter of Rights must be seen as the crowning moment of this process. This interpretation offers an adequate standpoint to consider its legal status and its relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights. It also provides evidence of the role of the Charter as signal of the constitutional moment which is gathering in Europe.

Tags: EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, fundamental/human rights, law, polity building
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM