10 Colum. J. Eur. L. 445 (2004)
Craig T. Smith, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Law School.
Thomas Fetzer, University of Mannheim Law School, Germany.
“The relation between European legal integration and the fundamental principles and values of the constitutions of the Member States is farfrom settled.”
“[T]he threat European law creates to basic rights protection” has long been a worm within the blossom of European integration. Courts in various Member States of the European Community (EC) have warned about this threat. In response, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has strengthened the role of fundamental rights in Community law. The Community’s legal order now incorporates distinct fundamental rights, but these are often weaker than, and do not necessarily enjoy primacy over, the Member States’ own fundamental rights. European leaders may soon further strengthen Community fundamental rights. They plan not only toexpand the EC further, as evidenced by the admission of ten new members in May 2004, but also to deepen it; the Convention on the Future of Europe has drafted a constitution that incorporates the previously proclaimed Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and an Intergovernmental Council (IGC) began addressing the Convention’s recommendations in 2003. Hence, European leaders could clarify the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in protecting fundamental rights, thereby helping to diminish the threat that European law poses to such rights.