RESPECT FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN EU MEMBER STATES — TOWARDS A CONSISTENT LEVEL OF HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION IN EUROPE?
The consistency and homogeneity in the protection of the citizens’ rights throughout Europe is one of the objectives and priorities of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. The introduction of the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the catalogue of the primary sources of EU law resulted in new relations within the different sources of fundamental law in the EU, including general principles of law, secondary legislation and national laws implementing EU law. This also has an impact on the effectiveness of fundamental rights within the EU Member States through the juxtaposition of the general principles of law with non-EU legal obligations of Member States resulting from national constitutions or the European Convention on Human Rights, to which EU is also obliged to accede, but still lacks a legal basis for accession. Under these conditions, different levels and standards of fundamental rights protection overlap and the EU norms must coexist with the norms of constitutional and international law binding for the Member States, as each Member State must coexist in the European judicial area, providing the legal protection of the rights of the citizens. The current problem in this legal area is the scope of the fundamental rights protection in case of a conflict of norms. What is therefore the effectiveness of the protection of fundamental rights in Europe and what are the chances for ensuring a harmonious and coherent system in this context is the subject of reflection in the present article.