Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) was hosting Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Conference titled “Constitutional Law and Fundamental Rights” on 25-26 April 2019. This was the third event in the series of four conferences, devoted to Fundamental Rights at the Frontiers of the European Union. The project is designed with a dual purpose: to explore fundamental rights in a multidisciplinary and holistic way, including their political, economic, constitutional and social dimensions, and to promote a dialogue among a broad range of leading academics, judiciary, public and private sector representatives. RGSL is the first academic institution in Latvia implementing the prestigious Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project.
The conference was also the first European legal space discourse in Riga about sovereignty and European integration, fundamental rights and the rule of law as common European values. The conference aimed to explore through discussions and panels a delicate balance between “national sovereignty” of the EU Member States and the development of the EU as “community of values”. According to which criteria should “common values” be interpreted? Whether and how the development of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union could influence the interpretation of “common values”? What are "common constitutional traditions" of the EU Member States and how could they evolve in the future? Furthermore, there are also special challenges both with the advent of Brexit and in relations with EU Southern and Eastern Neighbours.
The conference brought together judges of the Court of Justice of the EU and Constitutional Courts, lawyers and public sector representatives as well as leading academics from all over the EU - Estonia (University of Tartu), Finland (University of Helsinki), Hungary (University of Debrecen), Italy (University of Milan), Netherlands (Europa Institute of Leiden University and Maastricht University), United Kingdom (University of Kent), and Sweden (Uppsala University).
CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (with links to video)
Welcoming remarks by Dr. Ineta Ziemele, Professor of Riga Graduate School of Law, President of the Constitutional Court of Latvia
Prof. Anneli Albi (University of Kent, the United Kingdom). "The three main constitutional cultures in Europe: Towards uniformization or retaining diversity?"
Assoc.Prof. Armin Cuyvers (Europa Institute of Leiden University, the Netherlands). "Once the sovereign giant is awake: can and should the EU put sovereignty back to bed in the post-Brexit era?"
Inga Reine (Judge at the General Court of the EU, Luxembourg). "European values à la carte? Who should have the right to choose?"
Prof. Monica Claes (Maastricht University, the Netherlands). "The harmonisation of fundamental rights in the EU”
Asst. Prof. Antonia Baraggia (University of Milan, Italy). "Political conditionality and EU fundamental values: exploring a controversial constitutional tool"
Peter Gjortler (Legal Advisor at the Court of Justice of the EU, Luxembourg) "Fundamental Rights in the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy"
Prof. Tuomas Ojanen (University of Helsinki, Finland). "The evolving relationship between EU law and the Nordic systems for the protection of fundamental and human rights"
Assoc.Prof. Carri Ginter (University of Tartu and Partner at Sorainen, Estonia). "Legal implications of not asking for preliminary rulings by the highest courts"
Panel discussion among judges of the Courts: Ineta Ziemele (President of the Constitutional Court of Latvia), Egils Levits (Judge at the Court of Justice of the EU, Luxembourg), Inga Reine (Judge at the General Court of the EU, Luxembourg). "Autonomy of EU Law and common constitutional traditions: interplay between EU courts and national courts"
Asst. Prof. Ágnes Kovács (University of Debrecen, Hungary). "The European Judiciary: some implications of a normative concept"
Prof. Juha Raitio (University of Helsinki, Finland). "Rule of Law in European context - Is it just a ”rhetorical balloon” and what are the national challenges?”
Dr. Lars Karlander (Uppsala University, Sweden). "Direct horizontal effect of EU Fundamental Rights: problems and possibilities"
Kristīne Līcis (Representative of Latvia before International Human Rights Organisations) "The "crowded house" of European architecture for the protection of fundamental rights: navigating by values"