We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Eleanor Spaventa

Spaventa, E. (2016). The interpretation of Article 51 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: the dilemma of stricter or broader application of the Charter to national measures. European Parliament.

Author(s) from Durham


This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Petitions, considers the dilemma of a broad or narrow application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) to national measures. It considers the way the Court of Justice of the EU (CJ EU) has been interpreting fundamental rights in relation to such measures before and after the Lisbon Treaty and the constitutionalisation of the Charter: currently the CJ EU applies a varied interpretation of the CFR, on the basis of a narrow approach to its applicability to Member States' measures implementing EU law. As a consequence, the Commission’s strict approach in relation to a selection of petitions received by the Committee on Petitions raising issues of alleged CFR violations seems justified in the light of the existing law and CJ EU jurisprudence. The analysis, after examining the considerations that militate in favour and against a narrow interpretation of the Charter and of its Article 51, concludes that a more courageous approach should be taken at EU level when examining national implementing measures of EU law raising fundamental rights issues, notably until these are not evenly and properly guaranteed across the EU