Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Bernard, N. & Hubeau, B
2013 January
Recht op wonen: naar een resultaatsverbintenis? Droit au logement: vers une obligation de résultat?
The Charter of Fundamental Rights – added value to housing rights
Die Keure
Brussels
Published
1
Optional Fields
housing, rights, charter of fundamental rights, EU law
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It adds to the limited base of EU generated housing rights by its specific reference to the right to social and housing assistance. However, the enforceability of Charter rights requires an understanding of the place of the Charter within EU law and how it applies to Member States applying their own laws or EU law. Indeed, the Charter only applies where States are implementing EU law – a corpus of law which is broad and growing. Thus, Charter rights can only be engaged in a local court when some other EU measure is involved, but many EU measures impact on housing. European housing rights development must now take place in the context of interactions between the EU Charter, EU law, and national laws and policies. Some recent cases highlight this connection between EU and national laws.   Among the housing rights provisions across European States some new models stand out. Scotland, Finland and Catalonia, among others, are widely acclaimed as having recently developed clear, measurable and enforceable sets of rights, albeit through different methods.[1] Of course, at international level all European States have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural, European Social Charter or Revised Charter and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), - containing elements of a right to housing. All this at a time when globalization and particularly global financial non-regulation is playing havoc upon States efforts to ensure coherent, equitable and sustainable housing systems.[2] In this chapter, I will focus on the European Union (EU) and particularly the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter). A growing range of rights provisions are developing in the EU through Treaties, Directives, Regulations and case law which highlight the shared competencies between States and the Union. Indeed, many housing rights and right to housing cases are being decided by the EU Court – the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU formerly the European Court of Justice ECJ) arising from links between housing and other EU law provisions.  Of course, the legally binding adoption of the Charter has raised the status of rights to housing and social assistance in EU law. The Charter is now a legally binding component of EU Treaty law. Its constituent rights must be respected by EU institutions and also Member States, but only when “they are implementing EU law.”[3] A key question is how can housing rights advocates use the Charter to advance housing rights at local level. [1] See FEANTSA The Right to Housing – The Way Forward – Homeless in Europe (Autumn 2008) (Brussels: FEANTSA) for a discussion of the various approaches across Europe. In that Journal at p.15, Professor Nicolas Bernard distinguishes between a right to housing, ie, access to housing, with housing rights i.e., the rights of those who are already housed. For brevity I will use the term housing rights to encompass both meanings. [2] See Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe, Housing Rights: The Duty to Ensure Housing for All, CommDH/IssuePaper(2008)1, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Commissioner for Human Rights, Recommendation of the Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of the right to housing, Strasbourg, 30 June 2009 CommDH(2009)5. See also Kenna, P. (2008), “Globalization and Housing Rights”, (US) Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 15, Issue, 2, 397-469. [3] EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Article 51(1).
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