Comparison on the rights, limitations and procedures related to public gatherings and demonstrations across Europe

On a European level, fundamental rights are laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, or ECHR). The right to freedom of expression is laid down in Art. 10 ECHR and Art. 11 of the charter. The right to freedom of assembly is guaranteed by Art. 11 ECHR and Art. 12 of the charter.

The early treaties of the European Communities did not contain any provisions on fundamental or human rights. As a result of the European Convention, the charter was proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission in 2000. At this stage, the charter was not legally binding and only laid down the member states’ common understanding of fundamental rights. With the Treaty of Lisbon of 1 December 2009, however, the charter became part of EU primary law. According to Art. 51 (1) of the charter, the provisions of the charter are addressed to the institutions of the EU, in the first place. They are only addressed to the member states when they are implementing union law.

The ECHR was elaborated by the Council of Europe in 1949/1950 and has been ratified by all member states of the European Council. The rights laid down in the ECHR can be enforced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)…

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