Why a Charter of Fundamental Human Rights in the EU?

This paper debates the formalisation of fundamental human rights in the EU Charter; focus is placed on the tension between national sovereignty and assumedly universal rights. The EU is seen in the prospect of a cosmopolitan order possibly resolving the human rights dilemma.

ARENA Working Paper 36/2002 (html)

Erik Oddvar Eriksen

It has been argued that human rights politics is detrimental to social integration. But human rights are not merely abstract principles which, when positivated, secure negative freedom. When they are constitutionalised and turned into fundamental rights they contain a guarantee for equal freedom to all citizens. A charter of fundamental rights is a means to enhance the legal certainty of the citizens, reduce arbitrariness and moral imperialism and to institutionalise the right to justification. However, as the principle of popular sovereignty points to a particular society, and human rights point to an ideal republic, only with a cosmopolitan order can the problem of human rights politics be resolved.

Tags: fundamental/human rights, legitimacy, treaty reform, positive action
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM