(Order of the Court of 5 February 2015 in Case C-451/14, Petrus)
In order to ensure the implementation of fundamental rights and freedoms defined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Commission has been publishing, since 2010, an annual report on the application of the Charter. The last Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – 2013 Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – highlights the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in implementing the Charter, especially as regards the most recent development of its case-law on the Charter’s applicability in Member States. The section of the report treating this particular question points out that national judges are increasingly aware of the Charter’s impact and that they seek guidance from the Court on its application and interpretation under the preliminary rulings procedure.
Bulgarian courts are not an exception in this regard. The instrument of the preliminary reference is actively used. According to the data presented in 2014 Annual Report of the Court, until the end of 2014 the Court was required to rule on 78 references for preliminary rulings made by Bulgarian jurisdictions. The subject-matter of some of them pertains to certain provisions of the Charter. In some of these cases the Court decides to rule by reasoned order which makes clear that the Court of Justice of the European Union does not have jurisdiction to answer the questions referred for a preliminary ruling. The most recent example of such rulings is the Order of the Court of 5 February 2015 in Case C-451/14, Petrus.
The present analysis is focused on a research of the applicability of the Charter. In order to assess if the facts in the main proceedings before the national court fall within the scope of the Charter, the following study examines the guidelines provided by the case-law of the Court.
The Court has already observed that it has no jurisdiction to examine the compatibility with the Charter of national legislation falling outside the scope of EU law. According to the explanations relating to Article 51 of the Charter, the obligation to respect fundamental rights defined in the context of the European Union is binding upon the Member States only in respect of matters covered by EU law.
The Court has clarified that in order to determine whether national legislation involves the implementation of EU law for the purposes of Article 51 of the Charter, some of the points to be determined are whether that legislation is intended to implement a provision of EU law; the nature of that legislation and whether it pursues objectives other than those covered by EU law, even if it is capable of indirectly affecting EU law; and also whether there are specific rules of EU law on the matter or capable of affecting it.
The review of the case-law is of an illustrative character. Nevertheless, it provides guidelines necessary to assess if the facts in the main proceedings before the national court fall within the scope of the Charter. The case-law of the Court is consistent. Moreover, it clarifies the criteria for this assessment, by outlining the guidelines which the referring courts should take into account.
Link to the article in Bulgarian language: ПРИЛОЖНО ПОЛЕ НА ХАРТАТА НА ОСНОВНИТЕ ПРАВА НА ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЯ СЪЮЗ