The rights of every individual in the EU were established at different times, in different ways and in different forms.

For this reason, the EU decided to to include them all in a single document, which has been updated in the light of changes in society, social progress and scientific and technological developments. 

The Charter of Fundamental Rights brings together all the personal, civic, political, economic and social rights enjoyed by people within the EU in a single text.

It covers

  • all the rights found in the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU

  • the rights and freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights

  • other rights and principles resulting from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries and other international instruments

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Full text of the charter, application of the charter, how the charter relates to international laws


What it covers

The charter contains rights and freedoms under six titles

  • dignity
  • freedoms
  • equality
  • solidarity
  • citizens' rights
  • justice

The charter has become legally binding on the EU with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in December 2009.

To reflect modern society, the charter includes 'third generation' fundamental rights, such as:

  • data protection
  • guarantees on bioethics
  • transparent administration

Rights of the child

The promotion and protection of the rights of the child are two key objectives of the EU on which the Treaty of Lisbon has put further emphasis.

By enshrining the rights of the child, the charter:

  • recognises that EU policies which directly or indirectly affect children must be designed, implemented and monitored taking into account the principle of the best interests of the child

  • guarantees the right to such protection and care as is necessary for the well-being of children

  • recognises the need to protect children from abuse, neglect and violations of their rights, and situations which endanger their well-being

In line with the implementation of the charter, the European Commission is promoting the fight against racism and xenophobia, homophobia and the protection of persons belonging to minorities.

Convention on human rights

The charter is consistent with the European convention on human rights. When the charter contains rights that stem from this convention, their meaning and scope are the same

The charter strengthens the protection of fundamental rights by making those rights more visible and more explicit for citizens.

In 2010, the European Commission adopted a strategy to monitor and ensure the effective implementation of the rights and freedoms in the charter.