The enclosed paper discusses the picture regarding the protection of fundamental rights in Europe today which increasingly looks like a patchwork, due to a lack of coordination at different levels. Developments reinforcing that picture include the emergence of different methodologies for the application of fundamental rights, Constitution-based challenges to European law by national Supreme Courts, codifications of existing case-law and the creation of so-called « hybrid » institutions.
The resulting complexity is a challenge for domestic courts, a threat to the confidence of citizens and detrimental to the fundamental rights themselves, their special role and authority being gradually eroded by a general relativism.
EU-accession could have an anti-patchwork effect and represent a chance for a general coordination of fundamental rights in Europe. Beyond making the Convention binding upon the EU, it would also have a pan-European (re)structuring effect by confirming the Convention as the minimum benchmark providing both the bedrock and the framework for all other national or European fundamental rights as well as for the necessary judicial dialogue on the latter.
Good progress has been achieved since the resumption of negotiations for EU-accession, justifying cautious optimism as to the possibility to find adequate solutions to the outstanding issues