A leading European pro-life think tank has warned of possible growing centralization in the area of fundamental rights under new European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
European Dignity Watch says that although Juncker, who was elected president in June, has promised to seriously consider the importance of constitutional and cultural traditions of the 28 EU member states, there is concern over his wish to appoint a commissioner to specifically oversee the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law.
It also notes that Juncker has signalled his intention to convince national governments to give up resistance to laws against discrimination based on religion, sexual orientation, disability or age in the areas such as education, social protection, healthcare and access to goods and services. So far, these anti-discrimination laws only apply to employment.
European Dignity Watch points out that, according to EU law, member states should be allowed to pursue their own ways to protect and respect human rights, as long as they are capable of doing so.
Juncker’s wish to “convince [member states] to give up their… resistance” to anti-discrimination laws — an issue currently being debated in the European Council — may reflect an attitude that is “more oriented toward centralising the Commission’s power in the area of fundamental rights than toward respecting subsidiarity,” European Dignity Watch says.
“We will have to see if subsidiarity is respected of if, instead, a politics of centralization and European empowerment takes shape,” the Brussels-based think tank says.
“At a time in which the identification of citizens and political groups with the EU is eroding,” it adds, “Juncker would be well-advised to respect the principle of subsidiarity in the area of fundamental rights,” and to “remain faithful” to the Lisbon Treaty “in order not to contribute to this process.”
The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, is aimed at enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the EU. Opponents say it has weakened democracy by moving power away from national electorates.
European Union institutions often tend to pursue an anti-life agenda. Earlier this year, the European Commission under Juncker’s predecessor, Jose Barroso, vetoed a petition to end EU funding for research on human embryos. This was in spite of the petition gathering two million signatures, making it the largest of its kind in the history of European institutions.
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