Main findings of the 2011 Report on the application of the Charter
Two years after the Charter became legally binding there is evidence that the Charter is increasingly embedded in EU policy-making.
The primary role of the Charter is to guarantee that the EU institutions respect fundamental rights in preparing new European laws. Fundamental rights concerns are now an inherent part of the preparation of new EU laws. For example, in 2011, this helped ensure that EU rules on the use of security scanners at airports respect the fundamental rights to protection of personal data, private life and dignity. Concretely, travellers can opt-out from the security scanner procedure and be checked by an alternative screening method. .
In addition, the Charter increasingly helps to shape decisions of national and EU courts. In 2011, the number of rulings of the EU Court of Justice quoting fundamental rights laid down in the Charter rose by 50%. One such landmark ruling by the Court of Justice stressed that ordering an internet service provider to install a filtering system to prevent an infringement of intellectual property rights would infringe customers' rights to receive and send information (Scarlet v. SABAM case). This example shows how the Charter can be used for the protection of citizens in their daily lives, on this particular occasion when they use the Internet.
The results of an Eurobarometer survey published on 16 April 2012 also confirm that the general awareness of the Charter of Fundamental Rights is on the rise, moving up to 64% in 2012 from under 50% in 2007.
However, there is still a frequent misunderstanding amongst EU citizens about the situations where the Charter applies or does not apply, as well as the EU's role. More than half of the letters to the Commission (55%) in 2011 were beyond the remit of EU law and 65% of Europeans say they would like to learn more about where to turn if their Charter rights are violated. The Commission now provides practical information on enforcing one's rights via the European e-Justice portal.
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