The Penetration of Human Rights into the Agenda of the European Union

  • Hubert Smekal
Keywords: human rights, fundamental rights, European Union, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, powers of the EU, the Court of Justice of the EU


The article documents the process of the increase in the relevance of fundamental rights in the European Union and calls attention to the fact that it is gradually approaching an important point whose attainment would have a considerable impact on the nature of the EU. The text traces the development of the EU’s powers and activities in setting the norms related to fundamental rights, and deciding about their application, control and enforcement. The states have been reluctant to permit the Union to intervene into their domestic human rights affairs which are not connected to the EU’s competences. Nevertheless, its recent activities indicate that the EU is starting to get more say even in this cautiously guarded domain of domestic competence.

Author Biography

Hubert Smekal

Born in 1979, he studied Law at Masaryk University and the master's program "Governance and Politics of European Integration" at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Bologna - at the Forli campus. He completed his doctoral degree in European Studies at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University, where he also works as a lecturer (assistant professor) at the Department of International Relations and European Studies and as a specialist assistant of the International Institute of Political Science. In his research he primarily focuses on issues of human rights and judiciaries. He is the author of two monographs, the main co-author of three collective anthologies or monographs and numerous articles and chapters in various domestic and foreign publications. In 2010 he received the Fulbright-Masaryk Scholarship to study at the Centre for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley from 2010 to 2011. Since 2013 he is a member of the Government Human Rights Council.