The Court and the Charter: A ‘Consistent’ Interpretation of Fundamental Social Rights and Principles
European Labour Law Journal, 2015
Starting from the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Association de médiation sociale, of January 2014, this contribution deals with some important issues, such as the distinction between rights and principles protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and, above all, their field of application. With reference to the latter issue, a broad interpretation of Article 51, paragraph 1, of the Charter is suggested, according to which its provisions ‘are addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union… and to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law’. Under this interpretation, the rights and principles are applicable in the formation of European Union law, regardless of the field covered by secondary legislation. With reference to the national systems, even the connection with EU law has to be understood in a broad sense, so that the rights and principles shall be respected or observed when Member States are implementing all the secondary sources of the Union and not only those relating to the legal subject to which the right or principle specifically refers.