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Advanced Introduction to European Union Law

European Union Law

Jacques Ziller

This book explains how member states of the EU confer powers to the Union through the founding treaties and the legal frame applicable to the Union’s institutions, and the rules that apply to their functioning and the legal review of their action. It reviews the main fields of action of the EU – the internal market, area of freedom, security and justice, external action – and how law is shaping them. The interaction between the EU and its member states is also explained.
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Values, fundamental rights and citizenship

Jacques Ziller


The political nature of the ultimate aim of European integration as shaped by the EC and EU treaties finds its legal expression in the concept of European citizenship and in the provisions of primary law relating to the values of the Union.

As stated in Article 2 TEU:

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

Respect for those values is a requirement for states which want to accede to the Union, as referred to in the provisions on accession, and indeed, lack of respect for those values has impeded accession. Also, member states are required to respect those values, but unlike in the case of accession, the Union does not have an ultimate weapon of enforcement.

Article 7 TEU establishes a specific procedure to ensure respect for those values by member states. Initiative rests in the hands of the EP (acting by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, representing the majority of the component members), the Commission (who acts by a majority of its members), the Council (who acts by qualified majority without the indicted member state) or one-third of the member states. Those provisions make it quite difficult for the...

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