Opinion Factsheet  

Stratēģija, lai stiprinātu ES Pamattiesību hartas piemērošanu ES

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Opinion Number: CDR 433/2021
Rapporteur: VANRAES Jean-Luc
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 01/07/2021
 
On December 2, 2020, the European Commission approved a strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European Union. It was the second time that the European Commission approved a strategy on the Charter, the first one was in 2010. The European Commission fosters fundamental rights by emphasizing prevention, promotion, development and the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The 2020 Strategy revolves around four basic pillars:
i) Judicial and legal actors training;
ii) the development of the Charter by the EU institutions, including by the decision-making process;
iii) training and education of citizens for the exercise of their human rights, and
iv) the introduction of a new conditionality in the execution of European funds.
CoR political priority 1 is to bring Europe closer to its people and to reinforce European democracy at all levels of government. It aims to improve the way the EU works, ensuring its policies and programmes meet the real needs of citizens.

In this respect, local governments play an important role in the promotion, protection and respect of fundamental rights, including actually putting them into practice, making the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights a reality for all.

The opinion highlights that the involvement of the CoR in the inter-institutional dialogue concerning the Charter is essential and suggests to set up contact points to facilitate the flow of information on the Charter between the different levels of government.
These contact points could also provide guidance for LRAs on how to shape their policies in full compliance with the Charter with concrete examples.

Another proposal is that since the local authorities are the closest level of governance to citizens and they are well place to raise people’s awareness on their rights and where to turn to if their rights are breached, CoR members could take the opportunity of Europe Day on 9 May and of the Conference on the Future of Europe to promote local activities, explaining and stressing the paramount importance of the Fundamental Rights and the European Charter in our democracies.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



 welcomes the new Strategy to strengthen the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as it specifically acknowledges the role of local and regional authorities (LRAs) as central stakeholders in promoting and protecting Charter rights;

 calls for continuous involvement of LRAs, a fundamental level of democratic legitimacy, in promoting Charter values and monitoring compliance with the principles associated with it and believes that the participation of the CoR is essential in the inter-institutional dialogue concerning the Charter;

 notes the important role that national and European associations of LRAs can play in this context, and is committed to step up its cooperation with them in order to raise LRAs' awareness and understanding with regard to the EU Charter;

 stresses the importance of setting up contact points, which will facilitate the flow of information on the Charter between different levels of government and can also provide guidance for LRAs on how to shape their policies in full compliance with the Charter;

 welcomes the funds allocated by the European Commission through the Rights and Values Programme to help municipalities and associations to work together on issues of common interest, enabling the exchange of good practice, and to develop networks of towns;

 underlines that the European Commission should systematically perform a cross-check against the application of the Charter prior to granting EU funds, using a clear and transparent procedure. Compliance with Article 2 TEU, which encapsulates the Union's values, should constitute a conditionality for eligibility for EU funds;

 calls for the Fundamental Rights Charter to be enacted on Europe Day (9 May) and at the Conference on the Future of Europe, and asks its members to promote local activities explaining and stressing the paramount importance of fundamental rights and the European Charter for our democracies;

 fully supports the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Importance

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Fundamental Rights Forum 2021

Mr Vanraes spoke during the session on “Applying efficiently & effectively the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to uphold values & rights in Europe” organised during the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 held on the 11-12 October .

This session sought to contextualize the Commission's strategy considering the crisis of values in which the European Union finds itself in pandemic times of pandemic and facing new geostrategic and geoeconomic developments. It explored whether the measures proposed in the Strategy are sastifactory for an effective and efficient implementation of the Charter. Issues such as the effectiviness of the mechanisms proposed by the European Commission to monitor the implementation of the Charter and the role of the Council and the European Parliament, as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union, were also addressed.

The CoR rapporteur stressed the importance of Charter focal points to facilitate flow of information between different levels of government and possible initiatives to promote the Charter during the Europe Day and Conferance of the Future of Europe.

 
11 Oct
 

EESC Public Hearing on Empowering civil society, rights defenders and justice practitioners

On 20 April, the CoR rapporteur on the EU's Fundamental Rights Charter Strategy, Jean Luc Vanraes, spoke in the Public Hearing on Empowering civil society, rights defenders and justice practitioners organised by the EESC rapporteur on the subject.

During the panel Raising people's awareness about their Charter rights', the CoR rapporteur presented the main points of his draft opinion adopted by the CIVEX Commission on 30 March. The opinion is scheduled to be adopted at the CoR's plenary session in June-July.

 
20 Apr
 

CoR rapporteur meeting with the Legal Service, European Commission

On the 2nd March 2021 the CoR rapporteur met Mr.. Ronkes Agerbeek, member of the Legal Service of the European Commission.
During the meetings were discussed legal aspects related to the state of play of the negotiations on the EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights.

 
02 Mar
 

Meeting with representatives of the Fundamental Rights Agency

In preparation of his opinion, Mr. Vanraes, CoR rapporteur on the Communication the ''Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU'' had a meeting with the representatives of the Fundamental Rights Agency, Gabriel Toggenburg, policy coordinator, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Geraldine Guille, Supporting Human Rights Systems, Technical Assistance & Capacity Building.
During the meeting was highlighted the role of local and regional authorities and of the Committee of the Regions in the implementation of the Charter strategy at local and regional level.

 
13 Jan
 

Meeting with the representatives of the European Commission

In preparation of his opinion, Mr. Vanraes, CoR rapporteur on the Communication the ''Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU'' had a meeting with the representatives of the European Commission, Ms. Barbara Nolan, Head of Unit, DG Just, unit in charge of Fundamental Rights Policy and Ms. Nathalie Stockwell, Policy coordinator.
During the meeting, were presented the main points of the communication, highliting the role of local and regional authorities and of the Committee of the Regions in the implementation of the Charter strategy.

 
12 Jan
 

Attending the ''Reinforcing the EU Charter: Rights of people in the EU in the next decade'' online event

On 7 December, it was 20 years since the proclamation of the EU Charter of fundamental rights (EU Charter) by the Presidents of the EU institutions. On that day, the EU Agency for fundamental rights (FRA), in partnership with the European Commission, held a virtual conference.

European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, in charge of the revised strategy for the Charter’s implementation, President of the EU Court of Justice Koen Lenaerts and FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty discussed about the need for collective efforts to reinforce application of the EU Charter.

The aim was to encourage EU and national policymakers, legal practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders to better apply the EU Charter nationally. It showcased FRA Charter assistance and products, as well as case law that highlights the relevance of the EU Charter for national actors.

 
07 Dec
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