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The development of a corpus of fundamental rights at the EU level has accentuated the constitutional pluralism that existed within many national legal systems. Illustrating the dynamic, the adjudication of the age discrimination provisions of the 2000 Framework Directive on Employment Equality in Germany produced two major outcomes. First, interactions between the ECJ and the German labour courts served to upgrade rights protections afforded to workers, relative to national constitutional standards. Second, the structural position of the German Federal Constitutional Court, as a privileged locus of rights protection, was weakened, while the authority of the labour courts was enhanced. Looking head, we are entering a new era of rights-based legal integration that will further serve to Europeanize national law, while undermining the (supposed) unity and coherence of national legal orders.
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Constitutional pluralism; European Court of Justice; Europeanization; labour law; legal integration; non-discrimination