EU Citizenship as a Means of Empowerment for Fundamental Rights During the Financial Crisis

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Setting the scene: legal characteristics of the “triangular” fundamental rights protection system. – III. The modern protection of fundamental rights. – IV. The Court’s “substance of the rights” doctrine. – V. The way forward: taking the “substance of the rights” doctrine a step further. – V.1. Delimiting the proposal in accordance with Art. 2 TEU. – V.2. Another use of rights. – V.3. The paradigm of effective judicial protection. – VI. Concluding remarks.

Abstract: The financial crisis has revealed gaps in the protection of EU citizens against unjust deprivations of their rights, including the right to effective judicial protection, due to the difficulty in challenging the consequences of the conditionality imposed. This Article suggests that the deficient protection derives from the limited scope of application of fundamental rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter) and its unstable judicial interpretation, along with the fact that EU citizenship rights have not developed sufficiently. I will, however, argue that there is a duty to protect citizens within a constitutionalised Union, against any deprivations of their rights contrary to the values of the Union itself. This Article aims to fill these gaps, by developing the connection between EU fundamental and EU citizenship rights, using the judicially developed “substance of the rights” doctrine. Various attempts have been made to achieve this end, yet some loose ends remain which are largely addressed in this Article through the establishment of a new jurisdictional test, which combines a dynamic reading of Art. 20 TFEU and the “substance of the rights” doctrine, and Art. 2 TEU and fundamental rights as general principles of EU law.

Keywords: EU citizenship – financial crisis – substance of the rights doctrine – constructivism – Ruiz Zambrano – fundamental rights.

European Papers, Vol. 3, 2018, No 3, pp. 1139-1158
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/264

* PhD candidate, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus,


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