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III Fundamental Rights and Culture

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Cultural Diversity in the EU

John Morijn

Introduction

A crucial consequence of the Lisbon Treaty has been that the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR or the Charter) of the European Union (EU) became legally binding. As a result, considerations with direct and indirect cultural connotations, such as cultural and linguistic diversity (Article 22 CFR) were elevated to Charter level. Clearly then, at first sight the Charter holds potential to address more forcefully the cultural side of EU policy choices. However, economic considerations that are frequently at play while addressing cultural concerns, such as the freedom to conduct a business, have been similarly bolstered by their inclusion in the Charter (Article 16 CFR). Post-Lisbon, old and new cultural policy dilemmas, including the traditional balancing of economic and cultural interests, will have to be (re)considered within the framework of the Charter.

This chapter aims to map how the Charter relates to cultural diversity issues and how it has so far been applied in the situations where cultural issues are to be balanced with economic concerns. It first provides a general overview of the CFR provisions most relevant to cultural diversity, and discusses how the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU or the Court; former European Court of Justice, ECJ) has started to interpret a number of the Charter's general provisions. Second, it focuses on how the Charter may have influenced the way in which cultural

All opinions expressed are purely personal to the author and do not in any way represent the official position of the Dutch government.

interests are to be balanced with economic interests. Has the inclusion of economic rights in the text of the Charter simply codified the Court's previous approach, or might their relative prominence in the Charter require some recalibration of the approach so far taken? In the light of these possibilities, the Court's case law since the Charter became binding is briefly analysed.

 
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