Mr Blair Horan, Secretary of the Pro Lisbon Treaty Charter Group which includes some trade union leaders, issued a press statement today entitled: ”Joe Higgins MEP has stooped to falsifing(sic) the Charter.”
This hysterical reaction arises out of a mistake in a quotation from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in one article on www.joehiggins.eu dealing with workers’ rights as affected by the Lisbon Treaty. Mr Horan then goes on to quote what he says is the correct Article 52, except he makes a mistake and quotes an outdated version from the Charter as initially published in 2000 which is no longer valid! He should have quoted from the officially promulgated Charter of 14 Dec 2007 (2007/C 303/01) (See Appendix for correct quotation).
Mr Horan’s reaction is hysterical in the extreme, in attempting to ascribe to me a deliberate falsification of the Charter, as his own press statement contains two inadvertent mistakes. The real reason of course is to draw attention away from the anti-worker judgements institutionalised in the Lisbon Treaty.
A review of the 2007 Charter and the Official Explanations strengthens the argument I have been making. It shows that Lisbon would institutionalise the anti-worker case law of the European Court of Justice.
Paragraph 1 of Article 52 provides for limitations “on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter.” Paragraph 7 then refers to the Official Explanations, saying they “shall be given due regard by the courts of the Union and of the Member States”.
The official explanation of this paragraph explicitly states that:
“This wording is based on the case-law of the Court of Justice: ‘… it is well established in the case-law of the Court that restrictions may be imposed on the exercise of fundamental rights, in particular in the context of a common organisation of the market….’”
Those workers and trade unions who have been subject to rulings of the European Court of Justice know very well what the common organisation of the market means. It has meant that the rights of vulnerable migrant workers and unions trying to defend wages and conditions have been repeatedly deemed to be lesser than the rights of contractors to exploit them.
This Charter Group is now asking people to institutionalise these cases within the Lisbon Treaty, thereby copperfastening these anti-worker judgements and the race to the bottom in workers’ wages and conditions. This attack must be rejected by defeating the Lisbon Treaty for a second time.
It beggars belief that some trade union leaders should be supporting the ratification of a Treaty which further endorses the anti workers’ rights agenda of the European Court of Justice and the EU Commission.
The correct version of Paragraph 2 of Article 52 in the 2007 Charter of Fundamental Rights reads as follows:
“Rights recognised by this Charter for which provision is made in the Treaties shall be exercised under the conditions and within the limits defined by those Treaties.”
The Official Explanations referred to were prepared under the authority of the Praesidium of the Convention which drafted the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The full text of the Charter and Explanation is available online here.