Antonino Spadaro

The "Constitutional Culture" Underpinning the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Backgrounds and Legal Innovations.

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In author's view, the EU Charter of fundamental rights is rooted on six specific background sources: the constitutional traditions (1) and the international obligations common to EU Member States (2), the European Social Charter (3), the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers (4), the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (5), and ECtHR/ECJ case-law (6). The Charter does not only reaffirm the existing rights, but it aims to synthetize values of different roots, in a narrower as well as in a broader sense (a compromise for EU peoples, but also between EU culture and other cultures). The Charter eventually promotes the ongoing European "constituent process" and offers a "basic/minimum" constitutional protection to those who live in the 28 EU Member States. According to the author, the distinction between "principles" and "rights" remains ambiguous. The Charter rather displays accross-the-board effects, reducing the impact of the principle of conferred powers. Although the role played by the "better protection" rule, the frame of the many possibilities that national judges may dealt with in practice is still chaotic.


  • EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • European Constituent Process
  • Common Constitutional Traditions
  • Better Protection Rule
  • Judicial Role


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