Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2019)257 - 2018 Annual Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Please note

This page contains a limited version of this dossier in the EU Monitor.




Brusseis, 5.6.2019

COM(2019) 257 f,




nnual Keport on the f \ p p I icatio n of the LT_U Uharter of Fundamental Ki g hts

{SWD(2019) 198 fina,}



1. Introduction


Every year the European Commission reports on how the EU C harter of fundamental Kights (the Charter) has been applied in the EU and its Member States. This report looks at 2018. It

also marks the 10th anniversary of the Charter's entry into force


This report shows that the Charter is living up to its promise as the most modern, sophisticated and comprehensive legally binding fundamental rights instrument. The Charter

is most effective, with a real impact on people's lives, when the entire enforcement chain

applies it.

There is however room for improvement, especially at national level. Results of a recent Eurobarometer survey on Charter awareness show that only 42% of respondents have heard of the Charter and 12/0 know what it is. 60% would like more information on Uharter rights and on whereto turn to if their rights are violated.

It is importantto make sure the Charter delivers for everyone. National authorities, including the c o u rts, are required to apply the Charter when implementing EU law. Civil soci ety and rights defenders play a key role in raising awareness of the rights itcontains and ensuring that everyone can effectively enjoy them. There can be no effective fundamental rights protection without vibrant civil soci ety organisations and rights defenders. In 2018, the C o m m i ss i o n


took legal action to ensure that civil soci ety organisations can work safely and independently .

i 4

It also proposed legislation to strengthen financial support for their work .

Looking ahead to the May 2019 E uropean elections, the Uom m ission took action to make sure citizens can exercise their electoral rights freely and in a well-informed manner. A healthy democracy and respect for the rule of law are key conditions for promoting and protecting fundamental rights, and vice versa.

Commission communication 'Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union', COM(2010)573.

2 Special Eurobarometer 487b.

3 europa.eu/rapid/press-release IP-18-4522 en,htm,

4 COM(2018)384, available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2018:384:FIN; COM(2018) 383, available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2018 %3A383 %3AREV1.

5 See section 2.1.3.

2. Charter application in and by the EU

2,1 P

romoting and protecting fundamental rights

2.1.1 S u p p o rti n g civil socie ty organisations and human r i g hts defenders

Civil society organisations active on fundamental rights, national human rights institutions and e q u a I i ty bodies play a key role in raising awareness of Charter rights and ensuring their effective implementation on the ground. Supporting and protecting them is all the more

6 t

important when fundamental rights are under threat . I he situation of civil soci ety

organisations was at the heart of the Commission's 2018 Colloquium on fundamental

rights . Participants highlighted that civil society organisations and rights defenders should be able to work safely, independently and transparently. They should also have access to sufficient financial means to help them makefundamental rightsareal ity in people's lives.

On 30 May 2018, the C om mission putforward a proposal for a Justice, Ki g hts and Values Fund providing further support for rights defenders and civil society organisations active in the protection and promotion of Charter rights. It will for instance support civil society organisations in improving access to Justice for all, in particular through rights awareness activities, exchanging best practices on litigation, and training on the Charter . It will also support organisations in ensuring the effectiveness of fundamental rights by funding activities on participation in the democratic life of the EU, equality and non~discrimination,


and preventing and combating racism and violence .

The Commission also carried out consultations to implement a preparatory action requested by the Luropean Parliament, on an EU fund for financial support for litigating cases relating to violations of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. The aim is to raise awareness among legal professionals and practitioners of Charter rights and how they can be enforced at national and European level.

See EU Agency for Fundamental Rights publication of May 2018 on challenges faced by civil society organisations, available at https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2018/challenges-facing-civil-society-orgs-human-rights-eu and contribution to the Commission's 2018 Colloquium on fundamental rights, available at https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2018/colloq-civil-society.

7 Documents and conclusions available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/events/annual-colloquium-fundamental-rights en.

8 COM(2018) 384 (Justice programme).

9 COM(2018) 383 (Rights and Values programme).

Furthermore, the Commission included in its legislative proposal for EU f u nding poli ces under shared management for the post" 2020 per iod an enabling condition on the effective application and implementation of the Charter. It includes reporting arrangements to verify that operations supported by EU funds comply with the Uharter,


On 22 June 2018, the Commission adopted a recommendation encouraging M ember States

to set out measures to improve equality bodies' independence and effectiveness This is


vital for them to work efficiently. The Commission also continued to monitor national legislation affecting the work of civil society organisations and took action where it identified

Fl I 12

a breach of l_ U law

2.1.2 Esta blishing wh I stl e b I owe r protection at EU leve I

On 23 April 2018, the C ommission proposed common minimum standards to guarantee a high level of whistleblower protection across the EU13. T hey will have a clear positive

impact to safeguard whistleblowers' freedom of expression (Article 11 or the Charter).

Protecting whistleblowers again st retaliation is essential to safeguard media freedom and the watchdog role of i n v esti g ati v e J o u r n a I i s m in democratic societies.

W h i st I e b I o w e rs will be able to report on breaches of EU , aw covered by the directive through easily accessible and secure channels, both internally (within an organisation) and externally (to a competent authori ty) . W h istlebl owers will also be able to resort to public disclosures when those channels are not available or cannot reasonably be expected to work properly, or in cases of imminent or manifest danger to the public interest. These rules will furthermore ensure that re ta Nation is prohibited and punished and that if whistleblowers do suffer retaliation, they will have effective remedies.

2.1.3 Pr omoting electoral rights

President Juncker announced in his 2018 State of the Union Ad dress measures to help EU citizens exercise their electoral rights under the Charter in an effective, free, fair and secure manner. I hey follow recommendations issued in February 2018k , in which the

COM(2018) 375.

11 COM(2018) 951.

12 See section 3.1.

13 COM(2018) 218. The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on this Proposal on 11 March 2019.

14 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/state-union-speeches/state-union-2018 en.

15 C(2018)900.


Commission highlighted practical stepsto improve the efficient conduct of the 2019 elections to the European Parliament. Recent cases have highlighted the risks of mass online

disinformation cam

paigns, non transparent political advertising, misuse of citizens' personal

data, breaches of conventional electoral safeguards, cyberattacks and other effo rts to interfere in elections and undermine democracy in Europe. The measures set out by the European

r 16

Uommission aim to support Joined up action among all involved participants in the democratic process, helping to.

• enable authorities to quickly detect potential threats, exchange information and ensure a swift and w e I I ~ c o o r d i n ate d response.

• ensure greater transparency in online political advertisements and targeting, and security measures to protect n etw orks and information systems from cybersecurity threats.

• support national authorities and European and national political parties correctly apply

Fl I 17

the new l_U data protection obligations in the electoral context.


• make it possible to impose financial sanctions for breaching data protection rules to deliberately influence the outcome of the European elections.


As a follow-up to the High Level Expert Group on Fake N ews , the Vvom mission adopted a

Communication on disinformation20 on 26 April 2018, inviting representatives of online


platforms, the advertising industry and major advertisers to dra ft a self~regulatory code of


22 p

practice on tackling disinformation . Vvommitments include ensuring transparency of political advertising, closing active fake accounts, labelling ITlCSSci^CS Spi"CciCl by t)OtS , 3.11(1

improving the visibili ty of fact~checked content. The Commission and the High Representative complemented this Communication by setting out a Joint action plan to tackle disinformation. It includes improved data analysis and detection tools, a rapid alert

C(2018)5949, COM(2018) 638, COM(2018) 636 and COM(2018) 630.

17 The new EU data protection rules entered into application in May 2018. They apply to all European and national political parties and to other actors in the electoral context, like data brokers and social media platforms.

18 Sanctions would amount to 5 % of the annual budget of the European political party or foundation concerned. The sanction will be enforced by the Authority for European political parties and European political foundations.

19 https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/final-report-high-level-expert-group-fake-news-and-online-disinformation.

20 COM(2018) 236.

21 Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla as well as the trade associations representing online platforms and the advertising industry.

22 https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/code-practice-disinformation.

23 JOIN(2018)36.

system to share information on disinformation campaigns and coordinate responses, and monitoring of the implementation of the Code of Practice.

2.1.4 Pr o m oti n g a soci ety where tolerance, pluralism and non'discrimination prevails

I n 2018, data published by the EU A gency for Fundamental Ixights showed that racism and discrimination is still on the rise . Ag ainst this background, the I ligh Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance continued to develop responses to hate crime and hate speech in the EU". A key deliverable was a guidance on the practical application of the EU F ramework LJecision on combating racism and xenophobia to help Member States address the challenges they face in putting their legal obligations into



practiceforthe benefit of the public

The Commission also continued to monitor the impact of the Code of Conduct on countering hate speech online . I he results ofthe 2018 evaluations show tangible results on the removal of illegal hate speech . I I companies remove on average over 70% ofthe content notified to them, compared to 59% in 2017 and 28' % i n 2016. In 2018, f o ur additional companies, Instagram, G oogle +, S napchat and Uaily motion, announced their participation in the code of conduct.


The Council adopted a declaration on further action to combat antisemitism. The EU



Agency for Fundamental Rights' 2018 Antisemitism survey shows that problems persist. 9

i n 10 respondents feel that antisemitism increased in their country in the five years before the survey. M ore than 8 in 10 consider it a serious problem. The Commission continued to support initiatives combating all forms of antisemitism under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme. It hosted the 12 EU"lsrael High Level Seminar on combating racism, xenophobia and antisemitism and continued to raise awareness among its own staff, with training on Holocaust remembrance and antisemitism. In November 2018, the EU

Results from the second wave of its minorities and discrimination survey (EU MIDIS II) available at https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2017/eumidis-ii-main-results;

https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2017/second-european-union-minorities-and-discrimination-survey-eu-midis-ii-muslims; https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2018/eumidis-ii-being-black, https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2018/2nd-survey-discrimination-hate-crime-against-iews,

25 https://ec,europa,eu/newsroom/iust/item-detail,cfm?&item id=51025,

26 OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.

27 https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/iust/document.cfm7doc id=55607.

28 For more information see https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/iust/item-detail.cfm7item id=54300.

29 https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/iust/item-detail.cfm7item id=54300.

30 data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document.

31 https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2018/2nd-survey-discrimination-hate-crime-against-iews.

became a permanent international partner in the International Holocaust Remembrance AI I i a n c e .

The Commission intensified its cooperation with key stakeholders and civil soci ety o n combatting anti - \\A uslim hatred. European Imams met on 28 M arch 2018 and a high"level conference on tackling intolerance and discrimination against M uslims in the EU was held on


gency for Fundamental R i g I"


3 December 2018 . At this conference, the EU A gency for Fundamental Ixights launched

database on anti" M uslim hatred

In 2018, the C ommission adopted its report on the mid~term evaluation of the 2011 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. I t highlights progress in particular in the area of education. As part of the European Semester, the Commission continued to monitor progress on Roma inclusion and proposed countryspecific recommendations on inclusive main st ream education for Roma children in four countries

(BG, HU, RO, SK). I n its May 2018 proposals for 2021-2027 S tructural Funds , the

Commission proposed a strong link b etw een policy and funding priorities related to Roma inclusion. The R ights, Lquality and Uitizenship programme also funded projects supporting Roma inclusion and fighting discrimination and antrgypsyism across Europe.

https://ec,europa,eu/newsroom/iust/document,cfm?doc id=57312, https://fra,europa,eu/en/databases/anti-muslim-hatred/, COM(2018) 785 (2011-2017 period). COM(2018) 382 and COM(2018) 375.

2,2, Ensuring the respect offundamental rights

EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies must comply with the Uharter in all their actions. Cases of n o n" c o m p I i a n c e can be brought before the Court of Justice of the EU. In 2018, the Commission continued to mainstream fundamental rights in its legislative and policy initiatives to ensure compliance with the Charter. Some examples include.

• Proposed Regulation to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content online This would create a harmonised legal framework to make sure that online hosting services are not used to share terrorist content. It clarifies the responsibility of Member States and hosting service providers in ensuring the safety of their services and in detecting and removing terrorist content. The Commission analysed the impact of the proposal on Charter rights and included safeguards to ensure the respect for these rights.

• The revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) reinforces the battle again st illegal and harmful content in all audiovisual services, including on social media. Video-sharing platforms (e.g. YouT ube) will need to put in place measures to protect children from harmful content and to protect the general public from incitement to violence or hatred and from certain contentconstituting criminal offences.

• Proposed measures on artificial intelligence (Al)38. Al developments need to comply


with the Charter ('fundamental rights by design'). On 7 December, the Commission put

forward a coordinated plan with M ember States to ensure that AI is applied in a way that

respects fundamental rights and ethical rules. On 18 December 2018, the Commission's High

I p A I 39 40

Level Oroup on AArt i ficial Intelligence produced draftethical guidelines that also cover the i m p a ct of A I on fundamental rights.

• Funding instruments in the areas of migration, border management and security for the next M ultiannual Financial Framework (MFF)41: T hese proposals highlightthe need to use funds in full compliance with Uharter rights and principles. Act! ons implemented with the support of EU funds should take particular account of the fundamental rights of children, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and ensure the full respect of the right to human dignity, the right to asylum, and the rights of those in need of international protection and protection in the event of removal.

COM(2018) 640.

OJ L303, 28.11.2018, p.69.

COM(2018) 237.

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/high-level-expert-group-artificial-intelligence. https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/draft-ethics-guidelines-trustworthy-ai. COM(2018) 471, COM(2018) 473and COM(2018) 472.

2.3 Court of Justice scrutiny of EU i n

stitu Hons

The \\A y kola Ya novych Az arov v Council case related to an appeal againstthe freezing of funds and economic resources, in view of the situation in Ukraine. The appellant's name was on the list of persons, entities and bodies covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources on the basis of a decision of ajudicial authority of a non- EU c o u ntry. The Council's obligation was to verify that this decision had been adopted in full respect of the right of defence and the right to effectivejudicial protection. The Court found that it was not apparent from the statement of reasons that the Council verified that the Ukrainian Judicial authorities had respected the appellant's right of defence and r i g ht to J u d i c i a I protection. /Accordingly, the Court annulled the contested measures, as far as they concern the appellant.

Case C-530/17.

3. Charter application in and by Member States

3,1 D evelopments in fu n d a m e nta I r i g hts and the rule of I aw


The Charter is addressed to Member States only when they are implementing EU law, as set

out in i ts Arti cle 51. Infringement procedures based on the Charter can therefore only be

triggered when a sufficient link to EU law is established. The Commission receives many

complaints every year on which it cannot act, as the situation does not fall within the scope of r I I 43 -r

l_U law . I his can lead to some trust ration when individuals seek to invoke their rights.

I n 201 8, the C ommission took action in the following cases relating to the Uharter,

On 24 S e pte m b e r 2018, the C ommission referred Poland to the Uourt ofjustice of the EU for violations of the principle of Judicial independence by the new law on the Supreme Court. The Commission considers that the retirement regime for Judges in the new law is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle ofjudicial independence, including the irremovabili ty of Judges (Article 19(1) of the I reaty on Luropean Union read in connection with Arti cle 47 ofthe Charter). On 17 December 2018, the Court ofjustice ofthe EU issued a final order on interim measures, ordering the application ofthe retirement regime ofthe Supreme Court law to be stopped.

On 19 July 2018, the C ommission launched an infringement procedure again st a Mungarian law criminalising any assistance offered by any person on behalf of national, international and non~governmental organisations to people wishing to apply for asylum or for a residence permit in Mungary. wn the same day, it referred Mungary to the Uourt ofjustice ofthe EU for noncompliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law. This follows an infringement launched in 2015 and consequent exchanges

On 8 N o v e m b e r 2018 the C ommission launched an infringement procedure against Bulgaria on the incorrect implementation of EU asylum legislation. Concerns relate in particular to the accommodation and legal representation of unaccompanied minors, the identification and

45% ofthe letters from the public in 2018 were on matters for which the EU has no competence. See Staff Working Document page 4.

44 europa.eu/rapid/press-release IP-18-4522 en,htm.

support of vulnerable asylum seekers, the provision of adequate legal assistance, the detention


of asylum seekers and safeguards within the detention procedure

Even when acting outside the framework of EU I aw, Member States must respect the values on which the EU i s founded. In particular, respect for the rule of law is a precondition for the protection of fundamental rights. In 2018, the C ouncil held three hearings in relation to the situation of the rule of law in Poland, following the Commission's triggering of Artie,e 7(1) of the I reaty on Luropean Union in 2017. On 12S e pte m b e r 2018, the E uropean Parliament decided to initiate an Artie,e 7(1) procedure against Mungary.

3,2 Court of Justice guidance to mber States

I n 201 8, the C ourt of Justice of the EU (CJEU) referred to the Uharter in 356 cases (against 27

ih 2010).

Overview of GEU case law which directly quotes the Charter or mentions it in

its reasoning



ll I


I General provisions

l Justice

i Solidarrty

l Citizens' rights

l Equality

I Freedoms

l Dignity


2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 201S

W hen referring que st ions to the CJEU ( requests for preliminary rulings), national cou rts increasingly make reference to the Uharter (84 ih 2018, co m pared to 19 ih 2010).


europa.eu/rapid/press-release MEMO-18-6247 en,htm.

Requests for preliminary rulings which mention the Charter


E 30


■ Solidarity

l Citizens' rights l Equality

■ Freedoms I Dignity


2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 201S

In 2018, the CJEU

referred to the

C h a rte r in

a number of cases concerning non-

discrimination. In tw o cases where ethos_based organisations treated workers differently based on their religion , the Uourt clarified for the first time the interpretation of Artie,e 4(2) of l_J i recti v e 2000/78/EC4' , which provides for an exception to the nondiscrimination principle on the grounds of religion where the employer is a church or another ethos_based organisation. The Court explicitly referred to Art i cles 10, 21 and 47 of the Charter and found that while LJirective 2000/78/EC protects the fundamental right of workers not to be discriminated against on grounds oftheir religion, it also aims to take into accountthe right of autonomy of churches and ethos_based organisations, under Art i cle 10 of the Charter.

In the Co man case, the Court confirmed that the term SpOUSC in the provisions of EU I a w on free movement and residence of Union citizens refersto a person Joined to another person by the bonds of marriage, is g e n d er~ n e utra I and may therefore cover the same~sex spouse of a EU citizen. The Court pointed out that the rights guaranteed by Article 7 of the Charter have the same meaning and the same scope as those guaranteed by Artie,e 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Court European Court of Human Rights case law concluding that the relationship of a


referred to

Cases C-414/16, Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung eV and C-68/17, IR.

47 Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.

48 Case C-673/16.

same-sex couple falls within the notions of private life and family life in the same way as

the relationship of a heterosexual couple in the same situation.

I n tw o cases concerning the application of the right to an effective remedy to EU rules on asylum and return , the CJEU held that Article 47 of the Charter, read together with Articles 18 ahd 19(2) of the Uharter, requires that an applicant for international protection should be able to enforce his/her rights effectively before a Judicial authority.

3,3, National case law quoting the a rter


National judges play a key role in upholding fundamental rights. The EU A gency for

Fundamental Rights found that national cou rts continued to make reference to the Charter in


2018, in particular in the area of asylum and migration, data protection and Judicial



cooperation in criminal matters

The Charter only applies to Member States when they implement EU law (Article 51 of the Treaty on European Union). However, national Judges do not only make reference to the Charter in cases within the scope of EU I aw. In the majority ofjudicial decisions referring to the Charter, the question of whether and why the Charter applies is not raised. Only rarely are Art i cle 51 of the Charter and its field of application analysed byjudges

2018 confirmed past patterns in relation to references to specific articles of the Uharter, I he right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial (Article 47) remained the Uharter provision mo st oft en referred to. National Judges also referred to the right to the respect for private and family life (Article 7) and to the right to the protection of personal data (Article 8) . The following cases provide some illustration.

In Finland , the Supreme Ad ministrative Court noted that immigration services cannot require asylum applicants to provide photographs or video recordings of intimate acts in support of their claim of persecution on grounds of sexual orientation, as this would infringe the right to human dignity (Art i cle 1 of the Charter) and the right to private life (Art i c I e 7 of the C h a rte r) .

Cases C-175/17, X v Belastingdients/Toeslagen and C-180/17, X and Y v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie.

50 EU Agency's report on fundamental rights for 2019 (FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019).

Ibidem. Ibidem.

53 Finland, Supreme Administrative Court, case 3891/4/17,13 April 2018.

In the Czech Republic , the Supreme Ad m i nistrative Court ruled that paragraph 171(a) of the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals, according to which the refusal to grant a visa cannot be challenged before a court, violates Article 47 of the c harter ^Ixight to an effective remedy and to a fairtrial).

In Portugal the Constitutional Court reviewed Article 7(3) of the Law 34/2004 governing the access to cou rts, which prohibits the granting of legal aid to entities operating for profit. The Constitutional Court declared the norm unconstitutional and stressed that the right to effective Judicial protection guaranteed by Article 47 of the c harter may require the granting of legal aid for profit" making legal persons.

4. Focus section: 10th Anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter

A culture of fundamental rights has gradually developed in the EU institutions, rol icy makers are increasingly aware of the importance of ensuring that their initiatives are Charter compliant . Ji nee the Uharter entered into force, the EU has adopted a number of initiatives

directly promoting and protecting people's Charter rights57. R eferences to the Uha rte r by the

CJEU have increased since 2010. W ork must continue with a strong political EU agenda to promote and protectfundamental rights.


National cou rts are also referring to the Charter in their decisions and increasingly asking the CJEU for guidance . The Charter is nevertheless still not used to its full potential and

Czech Republic, Supreme Administrative Court, case 6 Azs 253/2016 - 49, 4 January 2018.

55 Portugal, Constitutional Court, case 242/2018, 8 May 2018.

56 See 2011 Commission Operational Guidance on taking into account fundamental rights in impact assessments and the 2015 Better Regulation Package, which makes Charter mainstreaming an integral part of the impact assessment (Tool28). See also Council Guidelines on fundamental rights compliance check, Doc. 5377/15 of 20 January 2015 and the possibility for the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to submit an opinion on any legislative file (European Parliament's rules of procedure - Rule 38).

57 Reported in sections 2.1. promoting and protecting fundamental rights of the Commission's annual reports on the application of the Charter, available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/aid-development-cooperation-fundamental-rights/your-rights-eu/eu-charter-fundamental-rights/application-charter/annual-reports-application-charter en.

58 See section 3.2. above. See also CJEU Recommendations to national courts and tribunals on preliminary rulings, OJ C 257, 20.07.2018. See Burgorgue-Larsen, L. (2017), La Charte des droits fondamentaux saisie par les juges en Europe, Paris, Pedone. See EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental rights, September 2018, available at https://fra.europa.eu/en/opinion/2018/charter-training. See also national country fiches on Charter

awareness remains low 5 . The EU A gency of fundamental Ixights points to a lack of national

r 60 t f

policies that promote awareness and implementation of the Uharter . I he Lurobarometer on Charter awareness shows that though the situation has slightly improved since 2012, only 42% of respondents have heard of the Charter and only 1 2% really know what it is.

QB1 Have you ever heard of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU? (°/o - EU)

(March 2019- June 2012)

Results also show that six in ten respondents would like to have more information on the Charter and on where to turn to if their Charter rights are violated.

application published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in March 2018, available at https://fra,europa,eu/en/charterpedia/fra-charter-resources,

59 Challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental rights, September 2018, available at https://fra.europa.eu/en/opinion/2018/charter-training. See also FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019 on use of Charter in national legislative work and FRA national country fiches on Charter application, op.cit.

60 See FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019 on lack of national policies aimed at the promotion of the Charter's application.

61 Special Eurobarometer 487b.

QB6 Would you be interested or not in having more information about the following aspects of the Charter? (% - EU)



20 ■ ■ 15 ■ 5




20 ■ ■ 15 ■ 5





■ ■ is m r





Very interested Fairly interested Not very interested Not at all interested

Total Interested'

Don't know

The Charter can only be effective in people's lives if they know about their rights, if they

know where to turn to when their rights are violated and if national cou rts, legislators and administrations i m plement their rights.


The F undamental Ixights interactive tool helps people identify the competent national authority when their rights are violated. It was searched 3,871 ti m es i n 2018, and could be better publicised to increase usage.


Charter events organised by EU Presidencies in cooperation with the C

o m m i ss i o

n and the EU

Ag ency for Func

damental Rights have highlighted best practice by national authorities to


https://beta,e-justice,europa,eu/459/EN/fundamental rights interactive tool, 63 For example 2016 conference ' The national policy application of the EU Charter of Fundamental

rights '
under Dutch EU Presidency or the 2018 conference ' The national life of the EU Charter of fundamental rights ' under Austrian EU Presidency.

r 64

increase Uharter awareness and develop tools that will make it easier for policy makers to main st ream the Charter in their work. A new tool that helps verify if a specific case falls within the scope of the Charter - CharterCl ick - has been available on the e ~J u sti c e Portal


since Uctober 2018. T he tool is complemented by a comprehensive tutorial on using the

p 66 Uharter

Training on the Charter is central to ensuring its effectiveness. Through the European Judicial Training N etw ork, the Commission continued to support the training of Judges and

prosecutors in 201867. The Commission's Justice programme also supported quality projects


p 68

for training legal practitioners on the Charter

The Commission's proposal for a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund opens the possibility

for funding Cha rte r awareness activities for national authorities, besides Judges and legal practitioners (i.e. ministries, police, and national parliaments).


The EU A gency for Fundamental Ixights carried out a number of activities on Uharter

awareness and training in 2018. It issued key principles for communicating Uharter rights

and updated and expanded a rte r p e d i a (an online information tool with Charter article~by~


article access to relevant European and national case law as well as relevant norms of



c o

nstitutional, EU and international law J . I his complementsthe information available on the e_Justice portal on the Charter, its scope of application, interpretation and effects. The Agency also produced a handbook on the Charter for legal practitioners and policy makers in October 2018' , which serves as a basis for training given to national authorities orking with

See check-list highlighted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in its handbook Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level, Part II, available at https://fra,europa,eu/en/publication/2018/national-guidance-application-eu-charter. See Judging the Charter project co-financed by the European Commission that informs about the Charter and provides a one stop shop for training material, available at https://charter,humanrights,at/,

65 https://beta,e-justice,europa,eu/583/EN/does the charter apply to my case,

66 https://beta,e-justice,europa,eu/584/EN/charter tutorial,

67 For example EJTN-FRA training on Applicability and Effect of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights in National Proceedings, 19-20 April 2018, Vienna and the 2018-2019 EJTN training seminars for EU Member States' judges and prosecutors on awareness of the Charter and CJEU jurisprudence.

68 For example, the EIPA training course Fundamental rights protection in the context of criminal proceedings in the European Union: The application and relevance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and EU Legislation, which was held in Barcelona on 13-14 March 2018, in Warsaw on 26-

27 June 2018 and in Luxembourg on 2-3 October 2018.

69 https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2018/10-keys-effectivelv-communicating-human-rights.

70 https://fra.europa.eu/en/charterpedia.

71 EU Agency for Fundamental Rights handbook Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level, op.cit.

human rights institutions, the Ag ency developed material for training targeted to civil servants and civil soci ety organisations. Training civil society organisations on the Charter is crucial,


given the role they play in making it a reality in peop le's lives. The results of a survey carried

out by the /Agency in 2018 among members of its platform of civil society organisations show thatthere is scopeto improve awareness and use ofthe Charter.


Ql Do you think human rights civil society actors in your country are sufficiently aware of the Charter and its added value?

■ I don't know


Q6 Do you use the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in your own regular work?

Often Sometimes Rarely

Source. An onymous survey on the use of the Ch

a rter carried

out by the EU An ency for Fundamental Rights

longst its Fundamental Rights Platform organisations in August 2018


The number of national human rights institutions (N H RI



Pri n

ciples , has risen significantly in the


accredited under the Paris

2010 (a 53% increase from 15 to 23 EU

Member States). Among these, there was also a 50% increase in the number of A-status

NHRIs ( fully compliant with the Paris Principles), from 10 to 16. C urrently, only 0 IVIember States lack an accredited NHRI. The E uropean IN etw ork of National Muman Ixights Institutions is working with relevant stakeholders to provide assistance in this regard. Since


2010, NHRIs have become increasingly active in monitoring and reporting on the

r 74 75


implementation of the Uha rte r at national level, providing awareness raising and training

on the Chartertojudges, lawyers and civil society organisations, advising their government


Including in the area of disbursement of EU funds based on guidelines developed by the Commission in 2016, available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52016XC0723 %2801 %29.

73 International standards for assessing NHRIs, available at https://nhri.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/ParisPrinciples.aspx.

74 For example Slovak NHRI guide on raising awareness of human rights that dedicates a chapter to the Charter and the Slovak NHRI's use ofthe Charter, available at

www.snslp.sk/CCMS/files/Sprievodca">www.snslp.sk/CCMS/files/Sprievodca ludskopravnymi temami suvisiacimi s clenstvom SR v EU.pdf.

75 For example the Croatian NHRI was a partner in the project Judging the Charter, op.cit.

76 For example the Portuguese NHRI recommended that the Parliament adopt a Code of Good Administrative Behaviour (based on Article 41 ofthe Charter). More information on this initiative can be found on www.provedor-ius.pt/?idc=35&idi=15267">www.provedor-ius.pt/?idc=35&idi=15267.

p r 11

and Parliament on requirements under the Uharter and strategic litigation at national level and before the Court of Justice of the European Union. They are an important part of the enforcement chain.


The same goes for equality bodies, which have gradually emerged as key players in the EU's

78 a

nondiscrimination infrastructure . AAs a first point of contact for victims of discrimination, they have developed extensive understanding of how discrimination affects people in Europe and worked more strategically towards better awareness and implementation of the EU equal treatment legislation . The majority of M ember States went beyond the legally binding EU requirements and gave competence to their equality bodies to cover, in certain instances, the

full range of grounds in Article 21 of the Charte r . The Commission's 2018 recommendation

on standards for equality bodies aims to advise M ember States on measures to help increase the effectiveness and independence of equality bodies.

5. Conclusion


This report shows that the Charter has proven to be a key instrument to make fundamental

rights a reality in people's lives. It IS still a relatively young instrument when compared, for

example, to the Luropean convention of Muman Ixights, which has existed for over 65 years. It will take time and sustained work for it to be used to its full potential, especially at local and national level.


Civil society and rights defenders play a key role in making the Charter a reality in people's

lives. I owards the end of 2019, the C ommission, the Tinnish Presidency of the EU and the EU A gency for Fundamental Ixights will hold a 10 year anniversary conference to celebrate the Charter and reflect on how, with the help of civil society and rights defenders, it can become a meaningful part of everyday life. This will provide the new Commission with vital information and guidance.

For example the Irish NHRI relied on the charter for its amicus curiae in national cases (e.g. P v. Chief Superintendent of the Garda National Immigration Bureau & Ors, more information available at www.ihrec.i.e./documents">https://www.ihrec.i.e./documents. It also provided legal representation before CJEU to Garda Candidates who challenged age discrimination rules, relying on Charter provisions, more information on: www.ihrec.i.e./eu-court-of-justice-issues-">https://www.ihrec.i.e./eu-court-of-justice-issues-landmark-equality-law-ruling/.

78 See 2018 report by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at www.equalitvlaw.eu/downloads">https://www.equalitvlaw.eu/downloads.

79 Directive 2000/43/EC, Directives 2010/41, 2006/54, 2004/113.

80 www.equineteurope.org/IMG/pdf/updated">www.equineteurope.org/IMG/pdf/updated brochure-2.pdf. See also European Directory of Equality Bodies available at www.equineteurope.org/-Members-Directorv-">www.equineteurope.org/-Members-Directorv-.

Op. cit.