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Abstract

The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Charter of Fundamental Rights was accompanied by scepticism on the part of some Member States regarding the widening of the Union’s competences on the basis of the Charter. Although certain safeguards were provided within the Treaties and the Charter, the United Kingdom and Poland signed the Protocol on the application of the Charter that was often referred to as an opt-out. This paper will try to define its legal character, show the reasons that motivated the State to sign it (and discuss the justification) and give an answer to what the consequences of the Protocol will be for the protection of fundamental rights – all from the Polish perspective. Since it will be shown that the Protocol will not play a significant role in practice, the paper will also focus on other issues that arose within the ‘Protocol context’, particularly the question of the effectiveness of EU law within the diversity that exists among Member States.