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And one more reservation to the Charter of Fundamental Rights...

(Archives B2) At the last moment, the Czech Republic discovered some allergy to the Charter of Fundamental Rights. She thus issued in a declaration (No. 52) – recorded in theFinal Act of the Treaty signed in Lisbon on December 13, four reservations.

four points

The Czech government (Christian Democrat / Green coalition) thus emphasizes that “the provisions of the Charter are addressed to Member States only when they implement Union law and not when they adopt and implement national law independently of Union law”. He also believes that the “rights and principles (established by the Charter) must be interpreted in harmony with the said traditions”.

Finally, he says “the Charter does not reduce the scope of national law and does not limit any current competence of national authorities in this area”. And “no provision of the Charter may be interpreted as limiting or infringing the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized, in their respective fields of application, by Union law and the international conventions to which the Union or (…) the Member States…”.

Almost zero legal scope

These reservations may appear, at first glance, as a third opt-out (after the United Kingdom and Poland). But the essential difference lies in the legal value of this act, which apparently does not bind the European institutions or the Court of Justice. This text “above all confirms certain limitations set out in the Charter itself” explains a jurist who followed the negotiations of the Treaty. He is “especially for internal purposes”, comments a Czech journalist, “to please the ODS electorate, (…) and the social oppositionale-democrat said nothing, saw nothing”...

Ignition delay...

In fact, says a diplomat, the Czechs woke up very late, at the last moment. They came to see the Portuguese presidency in the last days of November with a real “opt-out”. Their interlocutors kindly made them understand the lack of relevance of this approach and its lateness (to put it mildly) and directed the Czechs towards a more common text which does not, in fact, explain new reservations, but confirms the provisions already present in the Charter (in articles 52 and 53) by limiting its scope.

The Czechs in reverse of their history...

If the legal significance of this declaration is therefore questionable, it nonetheless leaves it at the level
political, a certain lack of appetite for the Charter of the country which saw the birth of one of the most original movements in Europe, the “Charter 77” of which many intellectuals, such as Vaclav Havel, were members (the photo dates from November 1989 at the Lanterna Magica… we are very far today from this spirit of freedom!).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde-

At the Lanterna Magica (© NGV)
At the Lanterna Magica (© NGV)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).