Author: Marta Cartabia
“Taking Dialogue Seriously”
The Renewed Need for a Judicial Dialogue at the Time of
Constitutional Activism in the European Union
Despite the failure of the ambitious project of the European Constitutional Treaty, the new millennium has indeed heralded a new constitutional era for the European Union, focussed on the protection of fundamental rights. Since the approval of the Charter in December 2000, fundamental rights have taken place of honour in the European agenda and a new phase of judicial activism has begun in the European Court of Justice, a phase focussed on the protection of fundamental rights.
The Charter, put in the hands of the Court, is bringing about many benefits but also many risks, the most obvious one being that the European Court of Justice acting more and more often as a Court of rights is willy-nilly a potential element of centralisation and standardisation.
In this contest the judicial dialogue among the ECJ and the national constitutional courts is all the more necessary, in order to preserve all the constitutional richness and variety of the European traditions. That is why all the judicial actors on the European scene should revisit their doctrines concerning their judicial role in the European Union. On the one hand the national higher courts should find the courage to enter into a direct constitutional dialogue with the ECJ, in order to give a clear voice to their constitutional traditions. On the other hand, the ECJ should encourage the participation of the national courts to the construction of the common core of the European values, starting, for example, with a change of style in its judgements.
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