PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN
THE EUROPEAN UNION
Associate professor Ioana-Nely MILITARU1
In order to ensure the respect of the values that the European Union is based on, provided for in art. 2 of the
Treaty on European Union, Article 7 of the same Treaty, provides for a mechanism of the European Union that allows to
determine if serious a nd persistent violations of the values of the European Union by a Member State have taken place
and possibly to sanction such violations. The European Union is obliged to respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights
of the European Union. The Charter sets out the rights that both the European Union and the Member States must respect
when implementing EU Law.
Keywords: fundamental rights, fundamental values, constitutional values, fundamental freedoms, judicial
protection, the supremacy of European Union Law.
JEL Classification: K33, K38
1. Prior details
Through the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union respects the fundamental rights, as
guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and results from the common
constitutional traditions of the Member States [Article 6 (2)]. The Maastricht Treaty establishes a
series of categories of rights for citizens of the Union, complementary to national citizenship, through
which the protection of their interests is strengthened2.
According to the Treaty of Amsterdam (TA), signed in 1997, which entered into force in 1999,
as a guarantee of recognition of citizenship, it is reaffirmed that the European Union is founded on
the principles of freedom, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as the state, by law,
principles common to all Member States, respect for human rights being a condition of belonging to
a State in the Union (Article 49 TEU)3. The TA also provides that the Union respects both the
fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, signed in Rome in
1950, and those resulting from the common constitutional traditions of the Member States as general
principles of Union law. Through the TA, a political guarantee is established regarding the respect by
the Member States of the fundamental4 rights, imposing sanctions for non-observance of these rights.
Therefore, if a member state of the U.E. in serious and persistent violation of the principles on which
the Union is based, the Council may decide to suspend certain rights deriving from the application of
the TEU, (as amended by the TA) for the Member State concerned, including the right to vote in the
Council of the representative of that government Member State (art. 7 TEU). In the TEU, in the
Preamble, amended by the TA, the attachment of the Member States to the fundamental social rights
1 Ioana Nely Militaru – Department of Law, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania, email@example.com.
2 These are: 1. the righ t to move and establish freely within the territory of the Member States (Article 18 TC); 2. the right to choose
and to be elected at the local elections in the Member State in which he resides, under the same conditions as the citizens of that state
(Article 19 TEC); 3. the right to benefit from the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State, in the
territory of a third State in which the Member State to which it belongs as a citizen is not represented under the same conditions as the
citizens of that State (Article 20 TEC) ; 4. the right to petition the European Parliament (Article 21 TEC); 5. Any citizen o f the Union
can contact the European Ombudsman to examine cases of maladministration on the part of the Community institutions and bodies
(Article 21 TEC); 6. any citizen of the Union may write to any institution or community body/union, in one of the languages mentioned
in the Treaty, and be answered in the same language.
3 Radu Stefan Pătru, Certain considerations regarding the legal personality of the European Union following the Lisbon Treaty,
„Revista Consilier European” no. 1, 2010, p. 12; Cătălin-Silviu Săraru, Eu ropean Administrative Space - recent challenges and
evolution prospects, ADJURIS – International Academic Publisher, Bucharest, 2017, p. 61; Cătălin-Silviu Săraru, Drept administrativ.
Probleme fundamentale ale dreptului public, C.H. Beck Publishing House, Bucharest, 2016, p. 806.
4 See, E. Dragomir, D. Niță, European Citizenship, Lumina Lex Publishing House, Bucharest, 2010, p. 107.