Protecting Economic Interests or the Right to Life? Perception of the European Court of Justice on Emergency Medical Services1

  • 1 Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki P.O. box 4, Yliopistonkatu 3, , Helsinki , Finland


European Union (EU) was founded to strengthen European integration through purely economic cooperation while disregarding human rights. However, throughout its existence the EU has been challenged to take a stand on human rights. In fact, the application and promotion of human rights has increased significantly in recent years, especially during the last 15 years, mainly thanks to the establishment of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2000. Through the selected cases concerning emergency medical services, this paper examines how the arguments of the European Court of Justice have eventually been shifting from purely economic ideology towards more human rights based approach. However, the article essentially argues that the full potential of human rights to support the claims that are inherently economic in their nature has not yet been utilized and therefore the essential aim of the Charter to strengthen human rights protection in the EU remains unachieved.

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