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Limits on Limitations: The Essence of Fundamental Rights in the EU

  • Koen Lenaerts

Abstract

The concept of the essence of a fundamental right—set out in Article 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the “Charter”)—operates as a constant reminder that our core values as Europeans are absolute. In other words, they are not up for balancing. As the seminal judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) in Schrems shows, where a measure imposes a limitation on the exercise of a fundamental right that is so intense and so comprehensive that it calls into question that right as such, that measure is incompatible with the Charter, as it deprives the right at issue of its essence. This is so without the need for a balancing exercise of competing interests, because a measure that compromises the very essence of a fundamental right is automatically disproportionate. Therefore, the present contribution supports the contention that in order for the concept of essence to function in a constitutionally meaningful way, both EU and national courts should apply the “respect-for-the-essence test” before undertaking a proportionality assessment.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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President of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Professor of European Union Law, Leuven University. All opinions expressed herein are personal to the author. This contribution is based on the Opening Address that I delivered on the occasion of the conference entitled “The Essence of EU Fundamental Rights”, that took place on May 17–18, 2018, at the Institute for European Law, Leuven University.

Footnotes

References

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1 Article 52(1) of the Charter reads as follows:

Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognized by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

Charter of Fundamental Right of the European Union, Oct. 26, 2012, 2012 O.J. (C 326) 44 (emphasis added) [hereinafter The Charter]. See Armin von Bogdandy et al., Reverse Solange—Protecting the Essence of Fundamental Rights Against EU Member States, 49 Common Mkt. L. Rev. 489, 510 (2012) (noting that Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (“TEU”) aims at safeguarding the essence of fundamental rights).

2 ECJ, Case C-362/14, Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, ECLI:EU:C:2015:650, Judgment of 8 October 2015.

3 Grundgesetz [GG] [Basic Law], art. 19(2), translation at http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/index.html.

4 Constitución de la República Portuguesa, 1976, art. 18(3) (Port.).

5 C.E., B.O.E. n. 53(1), Dec. 29, 1978 (Spain).

6 Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [KRP] [Constitution] Apr. 2, 1997, art. 31(3) (Pol.).

7 Eesti Vabariigi Põhiseadus [EVP] [Constitution] June 28, 1992, art. 11 (Est.).

8 Magyarország Alaptörvénye [The Fundamental Law of Hungary], Alaptörvény, art. I(3).

9 In the Czech Republic, the catalogue of fundamental rights is not in the Constitution itself but in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms (the “C-S Charter”) adopted by the extinguished Czechoslovak Federative Republic. Nevertheless, that Charter enjoys constitutional status in the Czech Republic. See Ústava České Republiky [UCR] [Constitution] Dec. 16, 1992, art. 3 (Czech Republic); Listina Základních Práv a Svobod [Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms] 1991, art. 4(4) (Czech).

10 See Ústava Slovenskej Republiky [USR] [Constitution] Sept. 1, 1992, art. 13(4) (Slovk.) (reproducing, in essence, Article 4(4) of the C-S Charter).

11 Constituţia României [CR] Nov. 21, 1991, art. 53(2) (Rom.).

12 See, e.g., Tuomas Ojanen, Making the Essence of Fundamental Rights Real: The Court of Justice of the European Union Clarifies the Structure of Fundamental Rights under the Charter, 12 Eur. Const. L. Rev. 318, 323 (2016); Maja Brkan, The Concept of Essence of Fundamental Rights in the EU Legal Order: Peeling the Onion to its Core (2018) 14 Eur. Const. L. Rev. 332, 338 (2018).

13 ECtHR, Judgment of 23 July 1968, Belgian Linguistic Case, CE:ECHR:1968:0723JUD000147462, § 5; Judgment of 27 Aug. 1991, Philis v. Greece, CE:ECHR:1991:0827JUD001275087, § 59; Judgment of 12 July 2001, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein v. Germany, CE:ECHR:2001:0712JUD004252798, §44. More recently, see ECtHR, Judgment of 23 June 2016, Baka v. Hungary, CE:ECHR:2016:0623JUD002026112, § 121; Judgment of 8 Nov. 2016, Naku v. Lithuania and Sweden, CE:ECHR:2016:1108JUD002612607, §95; Judgment of 29 Nov. 2016, Lupeni Greek Catholic Parish and Others v. Romania, CE:ECHR:2016:1129JUD007694311, § 20.

14 ECJ, Case C-292/97, Karlsson and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2000:202, Judgment of 13 Apr. 2000, para. 45 (emphasis added).

15 ECJ, Case C-5/88, Wachauf v. Bundesamt für Ernährung und Forstwirtschaft, ECLI:EU:C:1989:321, Judgment of 13 July 1989, para. 18.

16 ECJ, Case C-44/79, Hauer v. Land Rheinland-Pfalz, ECLI:EU:C:1979:290, Judgment of 13 Dec. 1979, para. 23.

17 See, e.g., ECJ, Joined Cases 20 & 64/00, Booker Aquacultur Ltd. and Others v. The Scottish Ministers, ECLI:EU:C:2003:397, Judgment of 10 July 2003, para. 68.

18 See, e.g., ECJ, Case C-544/10, Deutsches Weintor eG v. Land Rheinland-Pfalz, ECLI: EU:C:2012:526, Judgment of 6 Sept. 2012, para. 54; ECJ, Case C-190/16, Fries v. Lufthansa CityLine GmbH, ECLI:EU:C:2017:513, Judgment of 5 July 2017, para. 73.

19 GC, Case T-187/11, Trabelsi and Others v. Council, ECLI:EU:T:2013:273, Judgment of 28 May 2013, para. 81; GC Case T-256/11, Ezz and Others v. Council, ECLI:EU:T:2014:93, Judgment of 27 Feb. 2014 para. 200 (holding that “the ‘essential content,’ that is, the substance, of the right or freedom at issue must not be impaired”).

20 See Fries, Case C-190/16 at paras. 72–75.

21 ECJ, Case C-222/84, Johnston v. Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, ECLI:EU:C:1986:206, Judgment of 15 May 1986; ECJ, Joined Cases 402 & 415/05 P, Kadi and Al Barakaat Int’l Found. v. Council of the Eur. Union et al, ECLI:EU:C:2008:461, Judgment of 3 Sept. 2008.

22 Schrems, Case C-362/14.

23 Takis Tridimas, The Principle of Proportionality, in Oxford Principles of European Union Law. Volume I: The European Union Legal Order 243, 256–57 (Robert Schütze & Takis Tridimas eds., 2018).

24 ECJ, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12, Digital Rights Ireland Ltd. v. Minister for Commc’ns, ECLI:EU:C:2014:238, Judgment of 8 Apr. 2014; ECJ, Joined Cases 2013 & 698/15, Tele2 Sverige AB v. Post-och telestyrelsen and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2016:970, Judgment of 21 Dec. 2016.

25 Some scholars argue that not all fundamental rights questions should be answered by having recourse to a balancing exercise. See, e.g., Vicki Jackson, Being Proportional About Proportionality, 21 Const. Comment. 803, 803–59 (2004); Basak Cali, Balancing Human Rights? Methodological Problems with Weights, Scales and Proportions, 29 Hum. Rts. Q. 251, 251–70 (2007); Stavros Tsakyrakis, Proportionality: An Assault on Human Rights? 7 Int’l J. Const. L. 468, 468–93 (2009).

26 Prior to that judgment, the CJEU had already examined whether the contested EU measure respected the essence of the fundamental rights at issue. In those cases, it found that the EU measure did so. See, e.g., ECJ, Case C-283/11, Sky Österreich GmbH v. Österreichischer Rundfunk, ECLI:EU:C:2013:28, Judgment of 22 Jan. 2013, para. 49; ECJ, Case C-291/12, Schwarz v. Stadt Bochum, ECLI:EU:C:2013:670, Judgment of 17 Oct. 2013, para. 39.

27 Commission Decision 2000/520, of 26 July 2000 Pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Adequacy of the Protection Provided by the Safe Harbour Privacy Principles and Related Frequently Asked Questions Issued by the US Department of Commerce, 2000 O.J. (L 215) 7 (EC).

28 See Directive 95/46, of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data, 1995 O.J. (L 281) 31 (EC), repealed by Regulation 2016/679, of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the Protection of Natural Persons with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data, 2016 O.J. (L 119) 1 (EU).

29 Schrems, C-362/14 at paras. 94-97.

30 Id. at para. 94.

31 Id. at para. 95

32 Id.

33 See Commission Implementing Decision 2016/1250, of 12 July 2016 Pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Adequacy of the Protection Provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, 2016 O.J. (L 207) 1 (EU); ECJ, Case C-311/18, Facebook Ireland and Schrems (pending).

34 See Koen Lenaerts & Jose A. Gutiérrez-Fons, Epilogue on EU Citizenship: Hopes and Fears, in EU Citizenship and Federalism: The Role of Rights 751–81 (Dimitry Kochenov ed., 2017). But see von Bogdandy, supra note 1, at 512.

35 ECJ, Case C-304/14, Sec’y of State for the Home Dept. v. CS, ECLI:EU:C:2016:674, Judgment of 13 Sept. 2016, paras. 34–50; ECJ, Case C-165/14, Rendón Marín v. Administración del Estado, ECLI:EU:C:2016:675, Judgment of 13 Sept. 2016, paras. 81–87.

36 ECJ, Case C-216/18 PPU, Minister for Justice and Equal., ECLI:EU:C:2018:586, Judgment of 25 July 2018.

37 Id. at para. 47.

38 Id. at para. 48.

39 ECJ, Case C-112/00, Schmidberger v. Austria, ECLI:EU:C:2003:333, Judgment of 12 June 2003, para. 80.

40 ECJ, Joined Cases 404 & 656/15 PPU, Aranyosi and Căldăraru v. Generalstaatsanwaltschaft Bremen, ECLI:EU:C:2016:198, Judgment of 5 Apr. 2016; ECJ, Case 5-78/16 PPU, C.K. and Others v. Republika Solvenija, ECLI:EU:C:2017:127, Judgment of 16 Feb. 2017; Koen Lenaerts, La vie après l’avis: Exploring the Principle of Mutual (Yet Not Blind) Trust, 54 Common Mkt. L. Rev. 805, 805–40 (2017).

41 Article 19(2) of the Charter states that “[n]o one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” See ECJ, Case C-562/13, Centre public d’action sociale d’Ottignies-Louvain-La_neuve v. Abdida, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2453, Judgment of 18 Dec. 2014, para. 48; ECJ, Case C-353/16, MP v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ECLI:EU:C:2018:276, Judgment of 24 Apr. 2018, para. 43; ECJ, Case C-182/15, Petruhhin v. Latvijas Republikas Ģenerālprokuratūra, ECLI:EU:C:2016:630, Judgment of 6 Sept. 2016, para. 58.

42 Regarding the principle of ne bis in idem enshrined in Article 50 of the Charter, see ECJ, Case C-524/15, Menci, ECLI:EU:C:2018:197, Judgment of 20 Mar. 2018, para. 43; ECJ, Case C-537/16, Garlsson Real Estate and Others v. Commissione Nazionale per la Società e la Borsa, ECLI:EU:C:2018:193, Judgment of 20 Mar. 2018, para. 45. As to the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament enshrined in Article 39(2) of the Charter, see ECJ, Case C-650/13, Delvigne v. Commune de Lesparre Médoc, ECLI:EU:C:2015:648, Judgment of 6 Oct. 2015, para. 48. As to the principle of non-discrimination, see ECJ, Case C-528/13, Léger v. Ministre des Affaires sociales and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2015:288, Judgment of 29 Apr. 2015, para. 54 (regarding sexual orientation); Fries, Case C-190/16 at para. 38 (regarding age).

43 Digital Rights Ireland, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12 at para. 39; Tele2 Sverige AB, Joined Cases 203 & 698/15 at para. 101.

44 Digital Rights Ireland, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12 at para. 40. In relation to Tele2 Sverige, see Opinion of Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe at paras. 158–59, Joined Cases 203 & 698/15, Tele2 Sverige and Sec’y of State for the Home Dept. (Dec. 21, 2016), http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?num=C-203/15. In his view, the national legislation at issue provided for similar safeguards.

45 ECJ, Opinion 1/15, ECLI:EU:C:2017:592, Judgment of 26 July 2017, paras. 124–25 [hereinafter EU-Canada PNR Agreement].

46 Id. at para. 150.

47 See Directive 2013/33, of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 Laying Down Standards for the Reception of Applicants for International Protection, 2013 O.J. (L 180) 96 (EU), art. 8(3)(e).

48 ECJ, Case C-601/15 PPU, J. N. v. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie, ECLI:EU:C:2016:84, Judgment of 15 Feb. 2016, para. 52. See also ECJ, Case C-18/16, K. v. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie, ECLI:EU:C:2017:680, Judgment of 14 Sept. 2017, para. 35.

49 Delvigne, Case C-650/13 at para. 48.

50 Menci, Case C-524/15; Garlsson Real Estate, Case C-537/16.

51 Menci, Case C-524/15 at para. 39; Garlsson Real Estate, Case C-537/16 at para. 41.

52 Menci, Case C-524/15 at para. 43; Garlsson Real Estate, Case C-537/16 at para. 45.

53 Digital Rights Ireland, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12 at para. 37.

54 Id. at para. 57.

55 Id. at para. 52.

56 Id. at para. 65.

57 Id. at paras. 66–69.

58 Tele2 Sverige AB, Joined Cases 203 & 698/15 at para. 100.

59 Id. at para. 109.

60 Id. at para. 110.

61 Opinion of Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe at para. 82, Case C-207/16, Ministerio Fiscal (Oct. 2, 2018), http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?num=C-207/16.

62 ECJ, Case C-207/16, Ministerio Fiscal, ECLI:EU:C:2018:788, Judgment of 2 October 2018, para. 55.

63 Id. at para. 56.

64 Id. at para. 57.

65 Id. at paras. 59–60.

66 Id. at para. 62.

67 See, e.g., Sky Österreich, Case C-283/11 at paras. 48–50; Digital Rights Ireland, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12 at paras. 39–45; ECJ, Case C-129/14 PPU, Spasic, ECLI:EU:C:2014:586, Judgment of 27 May 2014, paras. 56–60; Léger, Case C-528/13 at paras. 51–55; Delvigne, Case C-650/13 at paras. 46–49; ECJ, Case C-157/14, Société Neptune Dist. v. Ministre de l'Économie et des Finances, ECLI:EU:C:2015:823, Judgment of 17 Dec. 2015, paras. 68–76; N., Case C-601/15 PPU at paras. 50–54; ECJ, Case C-477/14, Pillbox 38 v. Sec’y of State for Health, ECLI:EU:C:2016:324, Judgment of 4 May 2016, paras. 160–62; ECJ, Case C-547/14, Philip Morris Brands and Others v. Sec’y of State for Health, ECLI:EU:C:2016:325, Judgment of 4 May 2016, paras. 149–53; ECJ, Joined Cases 439 & 488/14, SC Star Storage SA and Others v. Institutul Naţional de Cercetare-Dezvoltare în Informatică (ICI) and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2016:688, paras. 49–51; ECJ, Case C-201/15, AGET Iraklis v. Y pourgos Ergasias, Koinonikis Asfalisis kai Koinonikis Allilengyis, ECLI:EU:C:2016:972, Judgment of 21 Dec. 2016, paras. 82– 89; Tele2 Sverige AB, Joined Cases 203 & 698/15 at paras. 101–07; ECJ, Case C-258/14, Florescu and Others v. Casa Judeţeană de Pensii Sibiu and Others, ECLI:EU:2017:448, Judgment of 13 June 2017, paras. 53– 57; Fries, Case C-190/16 at paras. 36–39; K., Case C-18/16 at paras. 34–37; ECJ, Case C-73/16, Puškár v Finančné riaditeľstvo Slovenskej republiky and Kriminálny úrad finančnej správy, ECLI:EU:C:2017:725, Judgment of 27 Sept. 2017, paras. 62–65; ECJ, Case C-380/16, Comm’n v. Germany, ECLI:EU:C:2018:76, Judgment of 8 Feb. 2018, paras. 65–71; Menci, Case C-524/15 at paras 43–46; Garlsson Real Estate, Case C-537/16 at paras. 45–48.

68 See, e.g., Brkan, supra note 12, at 361–63. See also Gregoire Webber, Proportionality and Absolute Rights, in Proportionality: New Frontiers, New Challenges 51–74 (Vicki Jackson & Mark Tushnet eds., 2017) (arguing that “either absolute rights are an exception to proportionality analysis or absolute rights are the result of proportionality analysis”). Similarly, the same two opposing views may be put forward in respect of the principle of proportionality and the concept of essence.

69 Ezz, Case T-256/11 at para. 209.

70 Koen Lenaerts & Jose A. Gutiérrez-Fons, The European Court of Justice as the Guardian of the Rule of “EU Social Law,” in A European Social Union: After the Crisis 446 (Frank Vandenbroucke, Catherine Barnard & Geert De Baere eds., 2017). It is true that, unlike the EU institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies, as well as the Member States—but only when implementing EU law—private parties are not explicitly mentioned in Article 51(1) of the Charter amongst the Charter’s addressees. That absence might support the view that the Charter as a whole is unable to produce horizontal direct effect. Nevertheless, whilst some judgments implicitly discarded that view—ECJ, Case C-414/16, Ergenberger v. Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung eV, ECLI:EU:C:2018:527, Judgment of 17 Apr. 2018, para. 76—the CJEU did so explicitly in ECJ, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16, Bauer and Willmeroth, ECLI:EU:C:2018:871, Judgment of 6 Nov. 2018, paras. 87–90; ECJ, Case C-684/16, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften v. Shimizu, ECLI:EU:C:2018:874, Judgment of 6 Nov. 2018, paras. 76–79.

71 See ECJ, Case C-555/07, Kücükdeveci v. Swedex GmbH & Co., ECLI:EU:C:2010:21, Judgment of 19 Jan. 2010; ECJ, Case C-441/14, DI v. Estate of Rasmussen, ECLI:EU:C:2016:278, Judgment of 19 Apr. 2016; Egenberger, Case C-414/16; ECJ, Case C-68/17, IR v. JQ, ECLI:EU:C:2018:696, Judgment of 11 Sept. 2018; Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Case C-684/16.

72 ECJ, Case C-176/12, Association de médiation sociale v. Union locale des syndicats CGT and Others, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2, Judgment of 15 Jan. 2014, para. 45.

73 See also DI, Case C-441/14; IR, Case C-68/17.

74 Egenberger, Case C-414/16 at para. 43.

75 Id. at para. 28.

76 Council Directive 2000/78, of 27 November 2000 Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation, 2000 O.J. (L 303) 16 (EC).

77 Id. (emphasis added).

78 Egenberger, Case C-414/16 at paras. 31–32.

79 Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev at paras. 63–65, Case C-414/16, Egenberger (Apr. 17, 2018), http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?num=C-414/16.

80 Egenberger, Case C-414/16 at para. 55.

81 Id. at para. 51.

The objective of Article 4(2) of Directive 2000/78 is thus to ensure a fair balance between the right of autonomy of churches and other organisations whose ethos is based on religion or belief, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the right of workers, inter alia when they are being recruited, not to be discriminated against on grounds of religion or belief, in situations where those rights may clash.

In the same way, in IR, the CJEU found that respect for “the sacred and indissoluble nature of religious marriage” was not necessary in order for a limited liability company belonging to the Catholic Church to promote its own ethos, in respect of the occupational activities carried out by one of its employees—for example, a doctor who was the Head of the Internal Medicine Department in one of the hospitals operated by such a limited liability company. See IR, Case C-68/17 at para. 5. See also, DI, Case C-441/14 at para. 26. In that case, the CJEU found that both Directive 2000/78 and the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age, enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter, opposed the Danish legislation at issue pursuant to which workers who were eligible for an old-age pension from their employer under a pension scheme which they had joined before attaining the age of 50 years could not, on that ground alone, claim a severance allowance aimed at assisting workers with more than twelve years of service in the undertaking in finding new employment. In so doing, the CJEU referred to its previous findings in ECJ, Case C-499/08, Ingeniørforeningen i Danmark v. Region Syddanmark, ECLI:EU:C:2010:600, Judgment of 12 Oct. 2010, paras. 47–49, where it had ruled that the same Danish legislation did not comply with the principle of proportionality as it went beyond what was necessary to attain the objectives pursued.

82 Egenberger, Case C-414/16 at paras. 80–81.

83 See Bundesarbeitsgericht [BAG] [Federal Labor Court] Oct. 26, 2018, 8 AZR 501/14, ECLI:DE:BAG:2016:170316.B.8AZR501.14A.0.

84 Directive 2003/88, of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 Concerning Certain Aspects of the Organisation of Working Time, 2003 O.J. (L 299) 9 (EC).

85 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 49 (emphasis added).

86 Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at paras. 40–45.

87 Id. at para. 26.

88 Id. at para. 61.

89 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at paras. 65–69; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at paras. 57–60.

90 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at paras 71–73; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 68.

91 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 75.

92 Id. at paras. 76–78; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at paras. 66–68.

93 Directive 93/104, of 23 November 1993 Concerning Certain Aspects of the Organization of Working Time, 1993 O.J. (L 307) 18 (acting as the predecessor of Directive 2003/88, which repealed it).

94 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 81; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 70. In those judgments, the CJEU mentioned the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers and the European Social Charter, both of which are mentioned in Article 151 TEU. In addition, it also mentioned Convention No. 132 of the International Labour Organisation of 24 June 1970 concerning Annual Holidays with Pay (revised).

95 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 83; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 72.

96 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 84; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 73.

97 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 85; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 74.

98 Bauer and Willmeroth, Joined Cases 569 & 570/16 at para. 85; Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, C-684/16 at para. 74.

99 See e.g., Koen Lenaerts & Jose A. Gutiérrez-Fons, A Constitutional Perspective, in Oxford Principles of European Union Law. Volume I: The European Union Legal Order, supra note 23, at 103, 116.

100 Digital Rights Ireland, Joined Cases 293 & 594/12 at paras. 47–48.

* President of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Professor of European Union Law, Leuven University. All opinions expressed herein are personal to the author. This contribution is based on the Opening Address that I delivered on the occasion of the conference entitled “The Essence of EU Fundamental Rights”, that took place on May 17–18, 2018, at the Institute for European Law, Leuven University.

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Limits on Limitations: The Essence of Fundamental Rights in the EU

  • Koen Lenaerts

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