Clarifying the Charter of Fundamental Rights for citizens
The Charter of Fundamental Rights is now legally binding on EU Institutions and national authorities when they implement EU law. But how should we enforce these rights? And what do they mean for citizens? Today’s publication of the 2010 annual report on the application of the Charter, the first report of its kind by the Commission, seeks to answer these questions. By clarifying where the Charter applies and where it does not, the Commission hopes to ease citizens' access to justice and to ensure that their fundamental rights are effectively implemented.
"To make the Charter work in practice, people need to know their rights and how to apply them so that justice can be done," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. There is still much misunderstanding about how the Charter applies. In 2010, the Commission received 4,000 letters related to fundamental fights. Three in every four were beyond the remit of EU law. This correlates closely to a recent survey by the European Ombudsman, which found that that 72% of Europeans do not feel well informed about the Charter.
Today's report identifies the top issues around fundamental rights raised by the public and others in the past year. These were: personal data protection, access to justice, integration of the Roma and equality.
This report should help citizens determine where they need to turn when they believe that their fundamental rights have been violated by an EU institution or a national authority.