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The Charter can't be overruled by the ECJ

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The No side continue their tactics of scaremongering.  Recently Joe Higgins maintained that Article 52 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and its explanatory memorandum (below) allows for the rights in the Charter to be overuled by the Europoean Court of Justice (ECJ)  in order to facilitate the "common organisation of the market", and that this is laid down in case law.

Women for Europe would like to clear this one up!  This one is a long one as we want to tall the WHOLE story!

In his argument, Joe Higgins disingenuously only uses HALF of the quote from the ECJ.  The other half of the quote says that restrictions on the rights contained in the Charter are only accptable (1) "provided that they correspond to objectives of general interest pursued by the Comunity" - namely those set out in Article 3 of the Libsbon Treaty.


Article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty reads as follows:


  1. The Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.
  2. The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combatting of crime.
  3. The Union shall establish an internal market.  It shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full emplyment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.  It shall promote scientific and technological advances.
It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.
It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States.
It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.
And (2) provided that those restrictions "do not constitute, with regard to the aim pursued, disproportionate and unreasonable interference undermining the very substance of those rights."
Hence, Joe Higgins is WRONG about the ECJ being able to ride roughshod over the Charter in favour of the internal market.  The Charter of Fundamental Rights provides an effective balance to the necessities of the internal market in areas where the EU has competency.
What Article 52(1) of the Charter actually says:
52.1 Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms.  Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
What does Article 52.1 actually mean:
The purpose of Article 52 is to set the scope of the rights and principles of the Charter, and to lay down rules for when they are being interpreted.  Paragraph 1 deals with the limitation of rights and its wording is based on the case law from the ECJ.   Essentially it means that restrictions may be imposed on the exercise of fundamental rights ONLY in cases where these restrictions are in line with the objectives of general interest that are being pursued by the EU, and ONLY in circumstances where any such restrictions do not interfere with these rights on an unreasonable level.