Guidelines for more rigorous respect of the Fundamental Rights Charter

By EDRi · October 20, 2010

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Deutsch: [Leitlinien für die Einhaltung der EU-Grundrechtecharta |]

The European Commission has adopted a strategy which is aimed at ensuring
that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is respected at every stage of the
EU legislative process. At the initiative of Commissioner Reding, the
intention is to create a template to make it easier for the Commission to
measure its own respect for the Charter and, by extension, to give the
public a clearer yardstick by which to measure the actions of the

As is Commissioner Reding’s trademark, the Communication is very ambitious,
arguing that the “Union must be exemplary” in matters of fundamental rights
and demands that “the Charter must serve as compass for the Union’s
policies and their implementation by the Member States.”

Since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, which made the Charter legally
binding, all Commissioners took a personal oath to respect the Charter.
However, in the absence of a methodology to incorporate this into policy
development, the Commission has struggled to “mainstream” this new element
of legislative development into all of its activities. For example, when the
Commission re-tabled the draft Framework Decision on Child Exploitation, it
changed the proposal in a way which, according to its own impact assessment,
was contrary to the European Convention on Fundamental Rights (the
“meaning and rights” of which are incorporated into the Charter).

One of the clearest pedagogical elements of the Communication is a
“Fundamental Rights ‘Check List'”, listing the questions that the Commission
must ask at each stage of the legislative process when assessing the
possible impact of the proposed legislation. This is to be repeated at each
step of all legislative processes, from preparatory consultations thorough
the impact assessment process and the legislative process. This includes,
“using all means at its disposal” to fight noncompliant amendments tabled by
other institutions.

It is, unfortunately, very obvious that the Communication will not solve all
or even most of the failures of the Commission with regard to respect for
fundamental rights protected by the Charter and Convention of Fundamental
Rights. However, it is also clear that the Communication establishes a new
and very clear set of standards and guidelines against which the Commission
can now be measured. This is an important step in the right direction and a
significant achievement by Commissioner Reding.

European Commission adopts strategy to ensure respect for EU Charter of
Fundamental Rights (19.10.2010)

European Commission Communication – Strategy for the effective
implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)