Does the Centrality of Values in the Lisbon Treaty Promise More Than It Can Actually Offer? EU Biometrics Policy as a Case Study

Authors

  • Maria Eduarda Gonçalves,

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    • Maria Eduarda Gonçalves, Professor; Maria Inês Gameiro, Ph.D student, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies (DINAMIA – CET), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). This article is based on work carried out under the research project ‘The Landscape and Isobars of European Values in Relation to Science and Technology’ (Value Isobars) funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development. An earlier version on this paper was presented at the 6th International Conference on Legal, Security and Privacy Issues in IT Law, 19–22 September 2011, Nicosia, Cyprus. We wish to thank an anonymous reviewer for his sensible and useful observations and recommendations on the version of this paper submitted initially.
  • Maria Inês Gameiro

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Maria Eduarda Gonçalves, Professor; Maria Inês Gameiro, Ph.D student, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies (DINAMIA – CET), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). This article is based on work carried out under the research project ‘The Landscape and Isobars of European Values in Relation to Science and Technology’ (Value Isobars) funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development. An earlier version on this paper was presented at the 6th International Conference on Legal, Security and Privacy Issues in IT Law, 19–22 September 2011, Nicosia, Cyprus. We wish to thank an anonymous reviewer for his sensible and useful observations and recommendations on the version of this paper submitted initially.

Abstract

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the term ‘values’ in EU primary law. This development coincided with the granting to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the same legal force as the Treaties. The question remains, though, how the prominence of values is actually shaping EU law and policy. This paper critically appraises the ways that certain values translated into the Charter's principles and rights are being construed under the EU policy for biometrics, a security technology whose use is being actively promoted by the EU. We conclude that the balancing of pertinent values, namely security and liberty, owe to a great deal to political and economic considerations that shape EU politics. Research priorities, combined with those of EU security policy, in particular, the fight against terrorism, then tend to prevail over ethically or morally based legal claims in respect of biometrics.

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