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European legal principles as the deep structure of the law?

Dorota Gozdecka
University of Helsinki
Dorota Gozdecka
University of Helsinki
Open Panel

Abstract

Article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon emphasises the importance of values common to the Member States and is primarily based in the principle of pluralism. In addition, processes of supranationalisation have lead to greater harmonisation of domestic laws in the member states in various legal areas, including those dealing with different conceptions of democracy, religious and multicultural coexistence. This harmonisation is facilitated through legally binding instruments, such as, international treaties, EU treaties or directives and furthermore through legal sources such as case-law or interpretative documents of the COE. As a result of the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights, the link between common understanding of democratic principles by the EU and the COE has been further strengthened. In their approaches towards multicultural coexistence, for instance in cases such as those dealing with blasphemy or religious attire, European institutions, courts and member state organs refer frequently to the common European legal democratic principles. This paper analyses common European principles in the light of multiculturalism, religious coexistence and growing cultural diversity. The interpretations of particular principles on national and European levels are compared and the influence of their diverse interpretation on the legal developments in the area of law and religion in Europe are discussed. Finally, the theoretical significance of these principles in the process of European integration is addressed. Referring to Tuori’s model of structures of the law the paper assesses whether common European principles in the area of religious freedom and cultural and religious pluralism can be treated as a deep structure of the law.