The Proportionality Principle as a Tool for Disintegration in EU Law – of Balancing and Coherence in the Light of the Fundamental Freedoms

Abstract: This thesis analyses the operations of the principle of proportionality when the Court of Justice reviews national measures that restrict the fundamental freedoms laid down in the EU Treaties. That judicial review often entails balancing of rights, and this study is a quest for coherence in the adjudication of different, and at times perplexing legal norms, of various national and international origins Many have held that the principle of proportionality is applied in EU law as a tool for integration. The main aim of this thesis is to study whether, and to what extent, the proportionality principle may also serve as the main tool to secure disintegration in EU law. That means verifying whether the principle is an apt methodological tool to secure deference, divergence and flexibility necessary in the adjudication of EU rules and the deep national interests. The analytical framework, within which the Court of Justice reviews the restrictive measures, is influenced by several factors, which seem to impact the level of intensity of the review. These factors, the balancing parameters, are unravelled by analysing the broader normative framework surrounding the Court’s judicial review. Balancing techniques and balancing theories are important in this light; alongside with tracing the origins of the proportionality principle and the role of the margin of appreciation doctrine in EU law. Furthermore, in order to define and categorize the types of balancing methods used by the Court of Justice in this context, an in-depth empirical legal research is undertaken.

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