Enhancing Economic and Social Rights Within the Internal Market Through Recognition of the Horizontal Effects of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights

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Table of Contents: I. Economic and social rights and the European integration process. – II. Promoting economic and social rights within the internal market through the recognition of horizontal effects of the Charter: limits and caveats. – III. New challenges in the promotion of economic and social rights through the Charter’s effects in horizontal disputes. – IV. Shaping the future of the European Union through enforceability of the Charter’s economic and social rights.

Abstract: This Article aims to ascertain the role of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in promoting economic and social rights within the internal market through an analysis of its applicability in horizontal disputes. Recognition of the horizontal effects of fundamental rights can ensure a minimum level of social justice in relations between individuals, help overturn the division between political and social rights in the Charter and promote an appropriate balance between the market and the social. In a series of rulings in 2018 on paid annual leave, the Court of Justice of the European Union attempted to clarify the legal relationship between the rights enshrined in the Charter and the directives on which those rights are based, and admitted the possibility of relying on certain rights conferred by the Charter in disputes between private parties. In particular, in Bauer and Max-Planck, the Court argued that art. 31(2) of the Charter, is of a mandatory and unconditional character and sufficient in itself to confer on workers a right to be invoked in horizontal disputes in a field covered by EU law. Recent CJEU case law has recognised horizontal direct effects to a Charter’s right outside the scope of the principle of non-discrimination, thus opening a new path to enforcement of the economic and social rights in the internal market and to shaping the future of the European Union through reiteration of its social values and objectives.

Keywords: economic and social rights – internal market - Charter of Fundamental Rights – solidarity chapter – rights and principles – horizontal effects.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 293-309
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/467

* Post-Doc Research Fellow, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan), matteo.manfredi@unicatt.it.


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