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Chapter Summary

The introductory chapter presents three critical concepts: fundamental rights, proportionality, and balance between powers of government. Fundamental rights are general principles of Community law. The most important are the right to property and the right to choose an occupation and to engage in work because the Community usually regulates economic relationships and social services. For the interpretation of these rights, Treaty on Establishing the European Union (TEU) requires that the traditions of the Member States and the Convention be taken into account. The Court usually focuses on the justification step, not on the interpretation of rights. The justification step is necessary, because rights are not absolute but allow for limitations. Yet the principle of proportionality poses some limits on the power to limit rights.

Keywords: balance of powers; Community law; European Court of Justice (ECJ); fundamental rights; legal justification; proportionality principle



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