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Part three: les Amphis des libertés

‘European integration, i.e. the union of the free peoples of the continent’, according to Jean Monnet’s definition in his Mémoires (Paris, Fayard, 1976, p. 521), began with no reference to the fundamental rights or support for them. This failure to mention the fundamental rights demonstrates that they were not considered essential for the union of the peoples of Europe. Although they have gradually become key elements of the creation of the current European Union to the extent of forming part, through human rights, of the shared values enshrined in Articles 2 and 6 of the Treaty on European Union, they have also proved to be a source of division among Member States.

 

Long before voting to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom of Great Britain had already opted out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The same is true of Poland. Domestic political debates in some Member States occasionally show reluctance or suspicion with regard to the fundamental rights as enshrined and interpreted by the European institutions.

The serious economic, migration, monetary, security and social crises facing the European Union exacerbate tensions around the fundamental rights. For some, they are essential in fighting economic and social decline and safeguarding against security abuses; for others, they constitute a threat likely to cause the insecurity and weakening of Member States.

With such contradictions around the fundamental rights, it is easy to forget that they are the common denominator of the non-economic and non-monetary values of the European Union: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, respect for human rights and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

The preference for the market, the economy and the currency may seem to be forgetting or disregarding the values conveyed through the fundamental rights.

Belief in the fundamental rights can be considered as an expression of the dominance of the individual to the detriment of the state and the public interest.

An assessment should be made of the place and role of the fundamental rights in European integration in order to learn the lessons of what has been done until now and to prepare for the future of this integration.

Focus and purpose: Study of the place and role of the fundamental rights in integration: The scientific literature is full of studies on the protection and promotion of the fundamental rights of the European Union, either from the point of view of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union or from the point of view of the policies of European Union institutions. Few studies have been devoted exclusively to an analysis of the role of the fundamental rights in the integration process. Yet, depending on the course of action taken, the fundamental rights can act as an accelerator or a brake. As shared values of the entities concerned, they can stimulate progress towards achieving the common objectives. As limits on powers, they can frustrate other objectives, especially economic goals.

How can the influence of the fundamental rights on the European integration process be measured?

This programme plans to include the views of some specialists in the human and social sciences.
 


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