For a number of years, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been a playing significant role in the protection of basic rights in regard to the EU legal stipulations. This has been achieved through the application of the ECJs prerogative to establish and develop a system for the examination of rules of the community establishments in relation to fundamental rights violations, though the agreements establishing the EU are silent on the most issues relating to the protection of fundamental rights. Thus, in examining the concept of ECJ in regard to EU integration, it would be paramount to point out that, though EU is unable to decide clearly on who forms the bulk of its citizenry, under the ECJ it is commonly accepted that the EU member states have a right to employ their distinct national courts to decide on the fate of questionable citizenry. This step, in relation to the ECJ, is crucial as it has helped build strong cooperation among the member states as well as the development of a strong and reliable judiciary in Europe, which has much reinforced the EU federalism which can be said to be a step forward towards EU citizen pluralism. In essence, the ECJ has significantly developed the concept of citizenship through the diverse legal frameworks within the EU. This has been done through the acts of streamlining the basic concepts as enshrined under the EU treaties. Therefore, under the common EU legal framework, the member states have almost similar judicial legislation that is applicable across the EU member countries. Reflecting on the apparent characteristics of modern Europe, this indicates how effective ECJ is and furthers the ECJ supranational framework, which bonds diverse EU legal frameworks together. Currently, the EU law provides a unique all-inclusive supranational legal system that incorporates on a novel level innovatively developed nationalized features and customized to its plans including objects characteristics. Exploring the concepts of citizenship, the ECJ can be said to have emerged as one of the most powerful tools of consolidating the EU. This can be attributed to the fact that in Europe, the international laws are recognized, while the European Union, on the other hand, respects its own laws. This infers that the ECJ effectively enforces the EU community laws without any bias or contradiction in relation to the member states judicial systems. Thus, as ECJ stands at the helm of the EU community with its distinct rights to judicial review, it as well as sanctions EU member’s states for acts of non-compliance with the union’s legal stipulation. This scenario has vehemently helped to pool in EU member states and facilitate free movement of citizens among the subsequent nations. Therefore, the ECJ and the current EU legislation asserts under Directive 2004/38/EC that “The right of people of the EU and their family members to move and dwell liberally within the territory of the European Union has been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 29 April 2004”. Basically, the European Court of Justice has played a significant role in providing a profound framework by which the EU Member states have managed to integrate as well as allowing free movement of persons within the international borders of the member’s countries. Another significant aspect pertaining to citizenship which the ECJ has over time insisted is explained under the four distinct judgments that the ECJ presented the major interpretations of member countries' citizenship. These judgments pertain to 93/96, 90/364 et 90/365. (Cases C-456/02; C-200/02; C-209/03 and C-157/03). Under the ECJ jurisdiction, it was found that each and every citizen within the EU has been conferred with the rights to reside in the territory or region within the EU, under article 18(1). Additionally, the EU citizenship of the Union is destined to be an elemental status of nationalized EU Member States, facilitating those who find themselves in similar circumstances to be accorded a similar treatment in law despite their nationality. The Court also highlights the importance to construe the right of free movement in the light of elemental rights with meticulous view on the right to the fortification of family life and the law of proportionality. Equally, the 1992 Maastricht Treaty brought to effect the broad concept of EU citizenship. Under this treaty, the ECJ established and reinforced the fact that each and every individual within the community has equal right to move and reside anywhere within the European Community. Also, the Amsterdam treaty that came into force in the dawn of 1999 reinforced these rights allied to EU citizenship through the act of incorporating the Schengen Convention into the Treaty. The free movement of individuals presents a formidable foundation by which the EU is critically founded, where the ECJ has recognized the importance of social integration. It equally enhances the social and economic development of member’s states. Therefore, it would be instrumental to posit that the ECJ is the key catalyst that has profoundly provided the major framework by which EU citizenship came into being. Consider the fact that, today, the European citizens are in a better position to enter, remain or as well reside in the area or region of any other EU member state. This is simply facilitated by providing a valid passport or equally a genuine identity card, among other issues. By diverging into the broader context of EU integration, the ECJ has played a very integral role in providing legal interpretation as well as directives in relation to the diverse legal setups of other EU member states. This has helped bring these countries together and developing a harmonious legal framework. Another factor that the ECJ can be accredited for pertains to the development of EC Competition law, under Regulation 1/2003. This legislation provides a solid ground for facilitating healthy economic and trade competition among the member states while controlling any kind of criminal activities. Subsequent to the conception of EU nationality as a discrete concept in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the EC treaties presented assurances for the free passage of economically energetic individuals. Too, 1951 Paris Treaty that instituted the European Coal and Steel Community recognized a right to liberated movement of laborers in these industries. More so, the 1957 Treaty of Rome catered for the free progress of laborers and services. However, the Treaty stipulations that were construed by the European Court of Justice did not encompass a constricted economic objective, but to a certain extent, a broader social and economic rationale. In Levin, the ECJ established that the "liberty to take up service was imperative, not just as a process towards the formation of a distinct market for the advantage of the Member State economies, but as democratic liberty for the laborer to raise her or his scope of living”. Over the ECJ case law, the freedom of free passage applies despite the laborers aim in taking up employment out of the country. Since the ECJ has established that a beneficiary of service has complimentary movement rights encompassed in the treaty and this principle is by far fulfilled, efficiently for each citizen of an EU state within other Member State. Whether reasonably active or not, each citizen has distinct liberties under Article 12 of the EC Treaty to non-prejudice even preceding to the Maastricht accord. In Martinez Sala, the ECJ noted that the citizenship requirements offered substantive free passage rights, adding up to those previously approved in the Community law. Thus, it can be argued that the ECJ has significantly established the basic parameters by which the EU member states have employed to develop and allow the growth of EU citizenship among the states. It would be paramount to posit that, ECJ as the most reliable legal instrument, it has managed to propagate the distinct concepts that are being employed to protect the fundamental right of movement and this subsequently has aided in creating a well-integrated European Community. Argue on the concept of EU integration and EU citizenry the European Court of Justice formidably has protected the fundamental status quo of diverse nations within the EU member countries, which was strengthened by the ECJ in an unswerving line of latest edicts. Legal improvements both at EU rank and the nationalized stage of the Member States have established with copious clarity, that EU nationality and the population of the Member States are two simultaneous consequential lawful statuses. Due to this observation, the role of the ECJ within the EU cannot be ignored or brushed off. It should be noted that, though the ECJ has in some instances provided controversial decisions in regard to certain legal aspects when it comes to the stability of EU, its position and role cannot be challenged. Thus, the bottom line is, without the contribution of the ECJ, it would be difficult for the member states to have a synchronized legal system that is employed to reflect on both social and economic activities of the member states as well as the individuals. Consider the fact that, the ECJ upholds that “EU Citizenship is ordained to be the elemental status of nationals of the Member States”.
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