Clash of Titans – general principles of EU law: balancing and horizontal direct effect
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AbstractMore than 10 years after the first ruling on the horizontal effect of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age, in the Dansk Industri case (Court of Justice, judgment of 19 April 2016, Dansk Industri (DI), Acting on Behalf of Ajos A/S v. Estate of Karsten Eigil Rasmussen, case C-441/14 [GC]) the CJEU reiterates Mangold and Kücükdeveci. It has by now proclaimed a new form of horizontality, deriving from the combined application of two different sources of law, i.e. the directive and the general principle. According to the Court, neither the general principle of legal certainty, nor that of legitimate expectations, which can be jeopardised by the horizontal effect of non-discrimination on grounds of age, question the necessity to ensure its effectiveness. Protecting non-discrimination on grounds of age justifies not only a broader application of that principle, but also its hierarchical priority over other general principles of EU law. However, insofar as general principles equally protect other fundamental rights, some questions arise: can the judicial activism of the CJEU equally improve effectiveness and uniformity in the protection of fundamental rights within the EU? Or, as Dansk Industri suggests, does the former goal (i.e. effectiveness) necessarily affect the latter?
CitationGualco E., Lourenço L. (2016) 'Clash of Titans – general principles of EU law: balancing and horizontal direct effect', European Papers, 1 (2), pp.643-652.
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