Objective of the reports

Since 2010, the European Commission has published an annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU.

The annual report monitors progress in the areas where the EU has powers to act, showing how the charter has been taken into account in actual cases, notably when new EU legislation is proposed.

Since 2021, following the strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter in the EU, the Charter report focusses every year on a different thematic area of strategic relevance governed by EU law. 

The annual report provides an opportunity for an annual exchange of views with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

2021 report

The 2021 report on the application of the Charter of fundamental rights in the EU follows the new thematic approach announced last year by the European Commission in the strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU. The 2021 report focusses on Member States’ best practices and the challenges they face in protecting fundamental rights in the digital age.

Five key policy areas of the report

Tackling the challenges of online moderation

The spread of illegal content on the internet is a challenge for democratic discourse and for a number of fundamental rights. In December 2020, the Commission proposed regulatory measures to address illegal content while protecting fundamental rights through the Digital Services Act In addition, it promotes voluntary measures via the Code on countering illegal hate speech online. On 9 December, the Commission also proposed an initiative to extend the list of EU crimes to include hate speech and hate crimes.

Safeguarding fundamental rights where artificial intelligence is used

The increasing use of artificial intelligence systems can yield great benefits, but certain applications are complex and opaque, which can be a challenge for compliance with or enforcement of fundamental rights. Many Member States have developed national strategies on artificial intelligence to ensure transparency, traceability and robustness and find effective ways to comply with fundamental rights. In April 2021, the Commission proposed a legislative act to ensure that artificial intelligence systems that pose a high-risk to fundamental rights are appropriately tested and documented.

Addressing the digital divide

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for those without the necessary knowledge or equipment to access public services that are offered online. The report shows how Member States and the EU work on different approaches to ensure nobody is left behind. Solidarity remains a key principle in tackling the digital divide.

Protecting people working through platforms

Platform work has generated new economic opportunities for people, businesses and consumers. However, it also challenges existing rights and obligations related to labour law and social protection. On 8 December, the Commission adopted a legislative initiative to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms, while supporting the sustainable growth of digital labour platforms in the Union.

Supervising digital surveillance

Surveillance may be legitimate, for example to ensure security and fight crime, but not all practices are justified. In this context, data protection and privacy are not only key fundamental rights but also ‘enabling’ rights that increase the protection of other fundamental rights, which can be affected by surveillance.

2021 annual report on the application of the Charter of fundamental rights

Previous reports

In 2020 there was no Charter report on year 2019 as the Commission adopted its strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter in the EU.