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Browsing by Author "Packalén-Peltola, Olivia"

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  • Packalén-Peltola, Olivia (2019)
    In cases Achbita and Bougnaoui (March 2017), the EU Court ruled for the first time on the limits of religious manifestation at work. In the cases, the Court had to take a stance on whether the prohibition of religious scarves in a private-sector enterprise constituted a breach of EU law. In principle, it answered in the negative. The thesis argues that the rulings constitute a rupture to the EU Court’s previous non-discrimination case law. Instead of acknowledging the importance of religious non-discrimination for the European project in general and inclusive labor market in particular, the decisions seem to downplay its significance in relation to other grounds for discrimination recognized by EU law. Second, and also contrary to its common habits, in its argumentation the EU Court drew heavily on the European Court of Human Rights’ case law. Both of these findings beg the question of why. The thesis argues that the EU Court’s line of reasoning in the two cases reflects its institutional positioning, as elaborated by Moorhead. In its adjudication, the EU Court aims at sustaining the supremacy of EU law, in a manner consistent with the Member States’ constitutional requirements, while also advancing the project of European integration. This requires careful balancing and results into a body of case law that is internally inconsistent and difficult to predict. In Achbita and Bougnaoui, the EU Court decided to prioritize stability over legal coherence. As a by-product, the thesis reveals some of the problems still attached to the European human rights regime. Both the raison d’être and the modus operandi of EU law and the ECHR are markedly different. The Lisbon Treaty has not eliminated the barriers between the two regimes, at least not in the field of non-discrimination, and comparative research continues to be necessary. The thesis concludes by arguing that in constructing the picture of the EU Court as a human rights adjudicator – a task that is more pertinent than ever – its institutional positioning has to be recognized as it has a direct bearing on its rulings.