General Principles of European Union Law

Introduction Today’s well-known Union of 27 member states of Europe was created in early 1950s by the chain of events. Early unions such as European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), European Economic Community (EEC) and the Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) have made the foundation of the developed European Union. European Union is an economic and political entity located in Europe, it is also fact that EU is a huge market. EU was created by the treaty of European Union in 1993.

The EU law is supranational law, it is supreme to the national laws of the member states and not limited by any national laws. Concept of new legal order and its effect on sovereignty of Member States The supremacy of EU law over the national laws of the EU member states means that the law created by EU has a direct effect on the EU countries and must be applied. Case “Van Gend en Loos vs. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen” of 1963 has raised a question whether Community law is applicable to individuals as well as to the member states.

It has been decided by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the national courts must protect individual rights, thus it lead to the creation of “direct effect”. The beneficial part new legal order of Community law is that the states have limited their sovereignty. [1] The case “Costa vs. Enel” (1964) had a significant influence on the EU law. ECJ stated that the EU law is the supreme and the member states are succeeded to gain sovereignty under Community law. National laws cannot overlap Community law which is supreme one.

Certainly, the member states of EU have lost their sovereignty to some extent since they entered the union. EU as a single body is in possession of a power, which is not challengeable by any state. The case outcomes have made Community law supreme. The role of ECJ in developing principles and whether Treaties expressly provided basis for those principles The creation of general principles in the countries of the European Community required decades. There was a doctrine created by the ECJ that the Community law can be drawn from those general principles of laws of the member states of EU and EC legislation.

ECJ considers the treaties of the European Community and the legislation of the member states of EU while deriving general principles. It is enough to implement that the new principle which is developed by ECJ suits to the most member states, it is not a question of necessity that the principle must ensemble to each member state of the union. The only issue is that the principle must be the outcome of Community law, but not the local law. General principles also serve as an appliance tool for the decision even if the treaty particular on particular situation doe not exist.

There are a lot of general principles within the EU. Mainly they are directed to economic, administrative and fundamental rights. The principle of non-discrimination policy is developed by ECJ in order to struggle discrimination of different layers of community. The ECJ has dealt with a number of discrimination cases, namely “Sabbatini vs. European Parliament”, “Airola v. Commission”, etc. Proportionality is also the major principle developed within EU. It is derived from German law and lies beneath Dutch constitution.

In the case “Internationale Handelsgesellschaft”, ECJ stated: “A public authority may not impose obligations on a citizen except to the extent to which they are strictly necessary in the public interest to attain the purpose of the measure. ” As regards the principle of legal certainty, this is one of the widely-used principles in EU. This generality is also derived from German law and it aims to support reasonable expectation and reliance. The concept of subsidiarity is differs from the principles that have been mentioned.

It is so for the reason that is was not developed by ECJ, it is a provision of Maastricht Agreement (written). Paragraph 2 of Article 3B of EC Treaty: “In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community.

” Supremacy of Community law The law of the European Union is unique and supreme to the laws of the European Union member states. It overrides the national laws of the countries and discriminate them to some extent. Interpretation of Community law The ECJ is acknowledged to have been the crucial role in the development of European Community law, supreme to national laws and separated from international law. The Court notably proclaimed this to be ‘a new legal order”Van Gend en Loos vs.

Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen”, case 26/62 [1963]. Moreover, this new legal order was accorded supremacy over the national laws of the member states[2]. The European Community is a community based on the rule of law and, in particular, the Treaty had to be recognized as its basic constitutional charter. While courts of a member sate of the European Community hear a case, there can be some question arisen, such as validity of national courts law to the ECJ or interpretation of the law.

Under the Article 234EC procedure (ex. Art. 177), the ECJ can, inter alia, interpret EC law but it cannot apply it: that is a matter for the national courts. Under the other heads of its jurisdiction, the ECJ has both to interpret and apply the law. Whether the acts of the courts were made in accordance to the EC Treaty, the ECJ sentenced three issues to consider: Community law must be drafted in different languages of EU, there are 27 official EU languages; Community law uses terminology which is particular to it.

Accordingly, legal concepts may not have the same interpretation in Community law as in the laws of member states? And every provision of community law must be placed in its context and interpreted in the light of the provisions of community law as a whole, regard being had to the objectives thereof and to its state of evolution at the date on which the provision in question is to be applied. Non-discrimination on the basis of nationality/gender as fundamental principle Non-discriminаtion principle is the foundаtion of Europeаn society.

Discriminаtion is inequity of individuаls in terms of gender, race, religion, sociаl stаtus and nаtionаlity. Аrticle 12 аnd 13 of Amsterdam Treaty is against nationality discriminаtion. Moreover, Аrticle 21 was introduced in 2000 in order to prohibit discrimination in term of sex, nationality, ethnicity, race, sexual orientаtion аnd color, lаnguаge, religion or аny belief. These techniques against discrimination in Europe аre the keys of the employment lаw. Both men and women must be paid equally and their rights must not be subject to discriminаtion.

[3] It is true thаt the issue of non-discriminаtion in the EU is uncertаin. The Chаrter of Fundаmentаl Rights is not completely shielding some human principles. Article 21 covers only discrimination on the basis of nationality, but no other principles covered. Principle of proportionality This principle is in the basis of the actions of the European Union. The completeness of the EU is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. According to the principle of subsidiarity,

Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the EU shаll аct only if the objectives of the proposed аction cannot be sufficiently аchieved by the member stаtes, either at centrаl level or аt regional and local level, but cаn rather, by reаson of the scаle or effects of the proposed аction, be better achieved at uniоn lеvеl. Proportionality principle refers to objectives of the Treaties of EU – the power of institutions must not be exceeded over than it is provided by Treaties. [4]

As it was mentioned before, the law of European Union overrides the local laws of the member states. The harmony cannot be reached until the objectives of the Treaties are not clearly settled and achieved. EU is not permitted to work out of frame which is settled by the Treaties. Since the country becomes a member of EU the laws passed must be implied by them over their nation laws. Thus, the members of the European Union sacrifice their national laws to some extent in order to implement the laws passed by the EU institutions, even they are obliged to implement those laws passed by the Commission.

Otherwise, the government will be taken to the court for not abiding the Treaties. According to Lord Denning (1979): “If the time should come when Parliament deliberately passes an Act with the intention of repudiating the Treaty, or any provision in it, or intentionally of acting inconsistently with it and says so in express terms then I should have thought that it would be the duty of our courts to follow the statute of our Parliament. I do not however envisage any such situation… Unless there is such an intentional and express repudiation of the Treaty, it is our duty to give priority to the Treaty.

” Human rights in the European Union The European Union pays a big attention to human rights and defends the interests of its citizens in internal affairs as well as in external. There was created European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (ECHR) in 1999 which was proposed by the German government. The rights protected by ECHR are: • Right to life, liberty and security of person • Right to a fair trial in civil and criminal matters • Respect for private and family life, home and correspondence • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion • Freedom of expression

• Freedom of peaceful assembly and association • Right to have a sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal • Right to marry and found a family • Equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses in marriage • Right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions • Right to education • Certain rights concerning elections • Liberty of movement and freedom to choose where to live The ECHR also guarantees a prohibition from: • Torture and inhuman or degrading punishment • The death penalty • Slavery, servitude and forced labor • Criminal laws that are retroactive

• Discrimination in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention • Expulsion of a state’s own nationals or denying them entry, the collective expulsion of Aliens Social and economic rights are covered by European Social Charter. [5] Social and all the economic conditions of the citizens of the European Union are guaranteed by the Charter. It can be concluded further that the fundamental rights of the citizens is a basis of the principles of EU. EU respects and protects the rights of members that were stated by the European court of Justice.

Indeed the approach of EU to the human rights is worth saying that it is an ideal form of legislating issues. The direct effect of European law Direct effect is an immediate application of the law passed by EU Commission to the member states. The principle of direct gives an opportunity to individuals to immediately invoke a EU condition in front of a national or European Court of Justice. The direct effect is a fundamental principle of Community law. It gives an opportunity to citizens to challenge European law in the courts. The direct effect principle therefore ensures the application and effectiveness of European law in the member states.

However, ECJ defined several conditions in order for a European legal act to be immediately applicable. In addition, the direct effect may only relate to relations between an individual and a member state as well as relationship between individuals. The direct effect of EU law was developed by the Court of Justice in the judgement of Van Gend en Loos in1963. In this judgement, the Court states that European law not only engenders obligations for member states, but also rights for individuals. Individuals may therefore take advantage of these rights and directly invoke European acts before national and higher European courts.

However, it is not necessary for the member state to adopt the European act concerned into its internal legal system. There are two features of direct effect: a vertical and a horizontal. Vertical direct effect is of consequence in relations between individuals and the State. This means that individuals can invoke a European provision in relation to the State. Horizontal direct effect is consequential in relations between individuals. This means that an individual can invoke a European provision in relation to another individual. According to the type of act concerned, the Court of Justice has accepted either a full direct effect (i.e. a horizontal direct effect and a vertical direct effect) or a partial direct effect (confined to the vertical direct effect).

Conclusion General principles are the foundation of legal system and right principles are very important to the future of the community. The principles are inter-related with each other and they can be interpreted in different ways and argued. The European Union guarantees security to its citizens and freedoms under the Treaties. EU law overrides the laws of its member states. However, it is regulated and controlled, bringing common social, political and economic wellbeing to each union’s member.

Otherwise, EU cannot function properly without violating to some extent national laws. The Acts that are protect and guarantee non-discrimination (gender, race, religion, social status, color, ethnicity, etc. ) has also very important role in the EU legislation. Bibliography Online sources: 1. AGE, (2007). REPORT ON THE TRANSPOSITION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY DIRECTIVE 2000/78/EC. [online] Available from: Age Platform Europe [Accessed 22 January 2011] 2. Albi, A. , (2007). Supremacy of EC Law in the New Member States. European Constitutional Law Review. 3. 25-67. [online] Available from: KAR [Accessed 23 January 2011]

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Law of the European Union, 3d ed. Ch. 6 Basingstoke: Palgrave. ———————– [1] “Van Gend en Loos vs. Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen”, [Case 26/2], 1963, ECR1 [2] Costa vs. ENEL, Case 6/64 [1964] [3] Council Directive 2000/78/Ec of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation: http://ec. europa. eu/employment_social/fundamental_rights/pdf/legisln/2000_78_en. pdf [4] Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union [5] European Treaty Series 35, 18 October 1961, ETS 163, 3 May 1996 (revised treaty) and Additional Protocol ETS 158, 9 November 1995.