Tagged: scope of EU law

Case C-206/13 Siragusa: A further piece for the Åkerberg Fransson jigsaw puzzle

By Benedikt Pirker

In this case of last week, the Court was confronted once again with the question of the scope of application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as regards Member State action. Many will remember the landmark decision in Åkerberg Fransson on the subject; the decision essentially equated the scope of EU law with the scope of application of EU fundamental rights: where Member States act thus within the scope of EU law, they are bound by EU fundamental rights and the CJEU is the ultimate interpretive authority. The case has caused quite some controversy, with some suggesting a judicial overreach by a Court determined to become the final instance for fundamental rights in the EU to the detriment of national catalogues of fundamental rights and the national courts called to protect them. Nonetheless, other observers – to which I would count myself – have rather read the decision as the confirmation of the principles laid out by the Court in its previous jurisprudence on the topic (see also the coverage of the case on this blog). Siragusa seems to strengthen this view in a number of ways. First, the result of the case can be considered as due deference towards national courts and fundamental rights protection at the national level. Moreover, the Court also uses extensive and systematic references to earlier case law to put its decision in context with the previous jurisprudence. Lastly, there is a valuable attempt to develop a first set of explicit criteria which might serve as future guidance to separate the national and the EU spheres of judicial competence in fundamental rights protection. Continue reading

Casting the net of fundamental rights protection: C-617/10 Åkerberg Fransson

Today’s decision by the Grand Chamber in C-617/10 Åkerberg Fransson is a landmark decision on the scope of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, EU constitutional law, and the relationship between national and EU law in general. As I explained in an earlier post, it was not clear, until today, whether the Charter had the same scope of fundamental rights protection as under the ‘old’ regime of fundamental rights protection ensured by the CJEU. The CJEU dealt with the issue head on stating that article 51 (1) of the Charter ‘confirms the Court’s case-law relating to the extent to which actions of the Member States must comply with the requirements flowing from the fundamental rights guaranteed in the legal order of the European Union’ (para. 18).

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