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Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union

From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art


Alessandra Silveira, Mariana Canotilho and Pedro Madeira Froufe

This book attempts to address an important question: where is the European project going?
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
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Multiple Political Identities. Revisiting the ‘Maximum Standard’ (Leonard F. M. Besselink)


Leonard F. M. BESSELINK*

University of Amsterdam

Discussing the relations between fundamental rights standards in Europe is discussing the nature of constitutional relations between EU and Member State constitutional orders. As constitutional orders are one of the determining elements of the political identity of a legal order of political community, discussing the relations between the constitutional rights standards is discussing political identities of the respective political communities.

The issue of diverging standards meaningfully exist when we are talking of public authorities acting in areas which involve EU law. This is particularly the case when national authorities do so. Whether such divergence is legitimate and which standard to apply in cases of conflict between standards, touches quite directly on questions concerning the existence of multiple political identities and how accommodate them, as we explain below.

Both in terms of positive law, descriptively and in terms of normative evaluation, these matters are uncertain and unsettled. Controversy has existed and persists. This is closely connected to and a reflexion of how constitutional relations in Europe can or should be understood.

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