The Constitution strengthens and enhances comprehensive legal protection in the European Union.
Following the abolition of the EU’s pillar architecture, the substantive jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union has been extended and basically covers all institutions and policy areas including the hitherto largely excluded area of freedom, security and justice (justice and home affairs).
However, the Court’s jurisdiction in the policy area of justice and home affairs is still restricted with regard to operations carried out by the police or other law-enforcement services and measures to maintain law and order and safeguard internal security.
As far as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CESDP) is concerned, the Court’s jurisdiction remains limited to reviewing the legality of European decisions on restrictive measures against natural or legal persons and to monitoring compliance of the CFSP with relevant internal policies and vice-versa.
With the establishment of the European Council as a separate institution within the EU, its acts and omissions can henceforth be reviewed and contested by the European Court of Justice with legal effects vis-à-vis third parties. The Court of Justice also has jurisdiction to review the legality of acts and omissions of EU bodies, offices and agencies with legal effects vis-à-vis third parties.
Following the introduction of specific procedures for monitoring compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the Court has now also gained jurisdiction for actions provided for in the "Protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality" (see 'Subsidiarity' link). One of the most substantial achievements the new Constitutional Treaty entails for each EU citizen is the improvement in the legal protection of individuals against legal acts by the EU. This was also demanded by Austria during the negotiations and is therefore particularly welcomed. It has now become much easier for individuals to institute proceedings on account of general legal acts because one of the two conditions, the "individual concern", is no longer applicable. Thus individuals no longer have to be the explicit addressees of a legal act, singled out by special properties or circumstances. It is sufficient that they belong to a generally defined group of persons who have direct obligations under the contested legal act. Hence, any natural or legal person may institute proceedings against a legal act addressed to that person or which is of direct and individual concern to him or her, and against a regulatory act which is of direct concern to him or her and does not entail implementing measures.