The Charter of Fundamental Rights, proclaimed on 7 December 2000, has the nature of an inter-institutional agreement and is not a legally binding document. The strength of the Charter lies in: - its comprehensive approach to the protection of the individual's rights; which extends to all categories of rights and to all persons sojourning within the EU territory, not only EU citizens; - standardization of concepts concerning fundamental rights; - establishing the mechanism for fundamental rights protection within the EU. The flaws of the Charter are as follows: 1. A new controversial typology of fundamental rights. The Charter does not refer to the categories of the individual's rights currently existing in both international law and domestic law of several states. Instead of previously applied typology, it establishes six categories of rights which correspond to its initial six chapters. In consequence, there is little evidence that new standards are introduced and that they have resulted in a relatively uniform meaning of the rights either in a widely understood European law (i.e. that of the European Union and that of the Council of Europe) and domestic law of the EU Member States. 2. The principles are not precisely defined. This new typology overlaps with the distinction between the fundamental rights and principles established by the Charter. The Charter lacks consistency and, contrary to the declaration contained in its title, it refers not only to fundamental rights, but also to principles. However, no distinct group of principles is separated in the Charter, and no such distinction can be derived from its content. 3. The Charter's possibility of stimulating the extension of competences of the EU institutions and organs. The ambiguity of relations between the system of protection provided by the Charter and the national systems of the EU Member States may have dual consequences. Either the EU institutions and organs are competent to decide in all the situations where there are any doubt arises about competence of national organs to deal with such matter, or in the case of any such doubt the ability to decide is granted to the national authorities. The former variant seems more likely to appear, which shall mean a de facto extension of EU competences. 4. The means for protection of rights guaranteed by the Charter are not specified in a sufficient detail.
B. Banaszak, Uniwersytet Wroclawski, Wydzial Prawa, Administracji i Ekonomii, ul. Uniwersytecka 22/26, 50-145 Wroclaw, Poland
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