Fundamental Rights in the European Union: Main Principles and Contemporary Challenges

Date: 25 October 2023

Time: 08:45

Duration: 2 days

Location: Luxembourg (LU)

Cost: € 900 - € 1000

Organiser: ECJL - European Centre for Judges and Lawyers/EIPA Luxembourg

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The Treaty of Rome made no mention of human rights. Six decades later, fundamental rights are consecrated as one of the core values of the European Union and fundamental rights protection is a major concern in all of the EU’s policy areas. Public administrations (whether EU or national) as well as private companies are expected to respect human rights and are closely watched in this respect by courts, EU institutions, shareholders, investors and civil society.

This course proposes to explain the legal and policy system that the EU has established over the years to protect and promote fundamental rights, to a point where fundamental rights have become relevant to all aspects of economic and social activities in the EU.

We will first discuss the place of fundamental rights in the EU system of legal norms and explain their role as a mechanism to control the legality of EU policies and instruments vis-à-vis individuals, whether exercised by the EU or indirectly by Member States. We will pay close attention to the Charter of fundamental Rights, highlighting the breadth of its scope and the innovative nature of many of the rights it enshrines. The efforts undertaken both by the EU decision-making institutions and the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to make the Charter effective will be examined.

We will also analyse the relationship of EU fundamental rights to other sets of legal rules (the Internal Market, the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) and other legal systems: we will discuss the state of play regarding the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and we will also look at how the EU promotes the protection of human rights on a global scale.

In order to provide for a practical perspective, we will introduce throughout the course certain specific examples of fundamental rights: the prohibition on discrimination, the right to the protection of personal data, the prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, the duties of private companies with regard to human rights due diligence.

What will you learn:

Participants at the end of this course will have a good understanding of:

  • EU legal and policy concepts related to fundamental rights;
  • The legal obligations to integrate and mainstream fundamental rights protection of individuals and ensuring the effectiveness of this protection across all EU policy areas, both in the public and the private sector.

Course methodology/highlights:

Alternating with presentations by the trainers, spaces will be provided for interactive discussion of and engagement with principles and concepts related to fundamental rights based on concrete case studies.

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