Gabi Zimmer, Chair of the United European Left/Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament, comments on yesterday's European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgement in cases C 8/15 P to C 10/15 P stating that damage compensation claims against violations of fundamental rights could be possible in future.

Yesterday’s ECJ judgement could be a breakthrough against the violation of fundamental social rights in the EU. It can be seen as a slap in the face for those people in the Commission, the ECB and the Eurogroup who think they can ignore fundamental rights.

Still, it has to be proven how effective fundamental rights claims will be in the future. Will a homeless woman on a pension below the poverty line in Greece, who cannot afford life-saving medication, be able to go to court? Will it become easier to defend the right to strike? And will the ECJ rule in favour of the citizens in question?

In any case, the judgement is a clear signal for an urgently needed political U-turn by the EU: fundamental social rights can no longer be subject to attacks by Memoranda or the European Semester. These measures which go beyond the EU’s legal framework and which lack any co-decision by the European Parliament are an attack on democracy. If the EU is to survive it will only do so as a guarantor of increasing social protection and democratic participation for everybody.

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