Protecting social rights in an interconstitutional context: a southern European view

The economic crisis of the last decade has had well-known detrimental effects on fundamental rights in the EU, in particular on social rights and especially in the south of Europe. The issue of social rights protection during the crisis was a clear case of multi-level constitutionalism (or inter constitutionality, the preferred term in Portuguese). The intervention of distinct national and European institutional actors – national courts, Ombudsman, the ECJ, the Social Rights Commission- and the need to take into consideration various catalogues of rights were frequent. This paper aims to make a preliminary analysis of the similarities and differences between standards of protection, whenever different catalogues of rights are used as a parameter to review the constitutionality or validity of a certain measure regarding social rights; the State’s or EU’s organs involved, the effectiveness of their decisions, as well as the legal reasoning behind them, will also be taken into account.