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Charter and Enlargement

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Current debates about the contents, status, and the future role of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights should have a stronger ‘enlargement dimension’: the constitutionalisation of Europe (with the Charter as its key element) and the EU enlargement should be seen as two interrelated (and, possibly, mutually supportive) phenomena rather than as two separate challenges which must be approached one at a time. There are two main aspects to this relationship. First, the Charter may be seen as a yardstick by which the human rights credentials of the candidate states will be tested. Second (the central focus of this article), one may ask whether the candidate states, once involved in the debate about the constitutional future of Europe, will bring any constitutional insights which may affect the articulation of Charter rights. It is argued, against the background of candidate states’ recent experience of constitution-making, that these insights should be embraced rather than feared, and that the current member states should resist a temptation of adopting a paternalistic approach towards the candidate states as participants in the European constitutional debate.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor in the Department of Law, European University Institute in Florence

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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