The Future of EU Citizens’ Rights – Will Fundamental Rights be Further Forgotten?

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Adrienne Yong , University of Hertfordshire
Since 2009, it is widely agreed that the EU has been in a perpetual state of crisis, and this has also had a detrimental effect on citizens’ rights as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). Despite the potential that a binding Charter and accession to the ECHR appeared to suggest for greater fundamental rights protection from the Lisbon Treaty, fundamental rights protection has been less effective for its citizens through the impetus of the CJEU. It was hoped that over time, this situation would improve. The reality is less positive. This paper will argue that it is imperative that this is brought back to the forefront of the CJEU’s jurisprudence, especially in the wake of Brexit. First, it will briefly discuss how the Court initially made fundamental rights protection effective through EU citizenship case law. Then, it will move onto analyse when the tide began to change, and offer reasons why this happened. Finally, it will argue that it is constitutionally the wrong choice to diminish the effectiveness of fundamental rights protection, based on arguments stemming from the CJEU’s previous behaviour and the present stronger foundations for more effective fundamental rights protection since Lisbon. It is the aim of this paper to remind of the importance and potential effectiveness of fundamental rights protection in the context of citizens’ rights so that fundamental rights are not forgotten. It will also mention how feeds into the negotiations as to EU citizens’ statuses in the UK after Brexit.