Exporting rights: The Charter of Fundamental Rights, membership and foreign policy of the European Union
This paper aims at exploring the impact that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, solemnly proclaimed in December 2000, might have on the relationships of the Union with applicant countries and with third states. Although not formally legally binding, it is argued that the Charter already has legal bite [Section 1]. Under such circumstances, it is claimed that the Charter will play a major role in testing the democratic credentials of applicant countries and member states [Section 2] and it might dissipate the remaining doubts concerning the competence of the Union to tie its emerging foreign policy to rights standards [Section 3]. The paper makes the further argument that such development is to be seen as “crowning” the slow process of emergence of rights as the fundamental principle of the European legal order, not as a radical departure. Such a finding reinforces the further claim that the European Union must be understood as a polity in the making, and not as a classic international organisation.
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