Last Webinar of the ELI Charter of Fundamental Constitutional Principles Series


The webinar of 17 June 2024 centered on Part VII of the ELI Charter on Constitutional Integrity

Pascal Pichonnaz (ELI President; Professor, University of Fribourg) opened the webinar with a warm welcome to participants. Having emphasised that the ELI project on Fundamental Constitutional Principles was developed with input from ELI bodies and various key stakeholders, he set the stage for discussions.

Project Co-Reporter, Takis Tridimas (Professor, King’s College London), provided a brief introduction to the Charter, in particular to its Part VII on Constitutional Integrity. He then elaborated on Principle 33 on the Duty to uphold and respect constitutional values, Principle 34 on State of emergency, Principle 35 on Prohibition and abuse of rights and Principle 36 on Entrenchment of fundamental constitutional principles. Among other things, Tridimas referred to constitutionalism as a collective responsibility, putting an obligation on all branches of government, political actors, and citizens to uphold a constitution’s ethos. He stressed the need for rights and freedoms to be preserved even in emergencies, without undermining democratic order.

Anna Khakee (Professor, University of Malta) congratulated ‘ELI for this important and timely initiative in establishing this Charter on Fundamental Constitutional Principles of European Democracies … We live in an age in which such a Charter is becoming ever more fundamental, so thank you for undertaking this huge endeavor, which will have required an enormous amount of work’. Her intervention focused on Principle 34 on State of Emergency. She emphasised the importance of the role of parliaments during emergencies, observing that parliaments should not be dissolved and must be involved in ratifying emergency declarations, extensions, and terminations. Khakee also discussed restrictions on government decree powers during states of exception, ensuring that they are limited and specific. She went on to highlight the various constitutional approaches to emergencies in Europe, including provisions for military courts and election postponements. Khakee stressed the need for proportionality and temporality in emergency measures, among other things.

‘When I read the Charter and when I saw who is behind the idea, the European Law Institute itself and two people that I respect greatly, Professor Takis Tridimas and Francis Jacobs … I grabbed this opportunity to share my reflections’ began Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz (Professor, University of Gdańsk). Koncewicz went on to focus on Principle 35 on Prohibition and abuse of rights and Principle 36 on Entrenchment of fundamental constitutional principles. He began by underscoring the importance of constitutional integrity in the context of ‘never again’ following World War II. He highlighted how law has been used to undermine democratic principles in some European countries, stressing the need for strong constitutional protections. Koncewicz viewed democracy, the rule of law, and judicial independence as essential elements of European identity; elements that should be entrenched beyond political whims. Koncewicz went on to discuss the role of Members of the European Union in reinforcing these principles and noted the significance of social acceptance and understanding of these constitutional values. He concluded by stressing the importance of the alignment of European consensus on liberal democracy and the rule of law for the purpose of safeguarding European unity and identity.

The interventions were followed by lively discussions.

More information about the project is available here. The edited version of the ELI Charter will be published on the ELI website in the next few days.


  • Webinar I on the Liberal Democracy – 11 March 2024 (recording here)
  • Webinar II on the Rule of Law – 25 March 2024 (recording here)
  • Webinar III on Judicial Independence – 8 April 2024 (recording here)
  • Webinar IV on Dignity and Equality – 22 April 2024 (recording here)
  • Webinar V on Checks and Balances: Accountability – 6 May 2024 (recording here)
  • Webinar VI on Protection of Fundamental Rights – 16 May 2024 (recording here)