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The Long Quest for Identity

Political Identity and Fundamental Rights Protection in the European Union


Edited By Gabriele de Angelis and Paulo Barcelos

The constitutionalisation of the European Union has been a major goal of European politics from the late 1980s until recently. It is supposed to enhance the citizens’ feeling of belonging and give the Union a clearer political identity and legitimacy. The current euro-crisis seems to have stopped the pursuit of an «ever closer» and constitutionalised Union. National interests and intergovernmental bargaining are now at the centre of European business. While we wonder what will become of the European constitutional project, it remains worthwhile to cast additional light onto what it was supposed to be until recently and how it changed the institutional face of the Union. This volume does so by analysing the political and legal facets of constitutionalisation. Contributions delve into the debates that marked the evolution of the constitutionalisation project and its overall institutional consequences, and focus on fundamental rights protection, the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legal conflicts between the European Court of Justice and national constitutional courts, and the legal and political balance of power between EU institutions and national authorities with regard to the defence of fundamental rights and the rule of law.


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Section IV: Expectations and Reality


219 Section IV Expectations and Reality The Charter of Fundamental Rights After Its First Decade: Legal Impact and Political Consequences A Conversation with MIGUEL POIARES MADURO1 Prof. Maduro, over the past ten years you have repeatedly dealt with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR) both in your scholarly work and as Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Your initial view was that the Charter was shred in a peculiar ambiguity: it could be seen either as an instrument to guarantee that the powers of the Union conform to the fundamental rights of member states, or it could be seen as a first and decisive step towards a genuine component of a true constitutional project. In the first case, the Charter would impose a limitation on the legislative acts of European institutions, whereas in the latter it would mainly work as an instrument of further political integration of a federalist type. The one does not rule out the other, but from a political point of view the two options reflect the well-documented, contradictory intentions and political wills that stood behind the adoption of the Charter. How do you assess this alternative ten years after its drafting? In my view we have not witnessed a resolution of that ambiguity. If anything, such an ambiguity has grown. The Charter has nei- 1 Miguel Poiares Maduro is Professor at the Department of European Law and Director of the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for...

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