Equality and Human Rights Framework

European Commission: Importance of EU Charter of Fundamental Rights grows as citizens stand to benefit

Tuesday 15 April 2014

On 14 April the European Commission published its 4th annual report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This report shows that the importance and prominence of the EU Charter continues to rise.

The European Commission places fundamental rights at the heart of all EU policies. As a result, citizens benefit increasingly from better fundamental rights protection and European and national courts become more and more aware of the importance of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights applying it in their judgments. These are the main findings of the Commission's fourth Fundamental Rights report that Vice-President Viviane Reding presented.

The importance and prominence of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights continues to rise: citizens ask thousands of fundamental rights related questions and the Court of Justice of the EU increasingly applies the Charter in its decisions while national judges are increasingly aware of the Charter's impact and seek guidance from the European Court. The European Commission has progressively taken action to bring the Charter to life by promoting and defending the rights of EU citizens laid down in the Charter. It rigorously defended the right to free movement, brought legal challenges to ensure the independence of data protection authorities in several countries and adopted legislation to give victims of crime and crime suspects better rights across Europe.

"Almost four years after the European Commission presented its strategy on the implementation of the EU Charter, we have succeeded in strengthening the fundamental rights culture in the EU institutions. All Commissioners take an oath on the Fundamental Rights Charter, we check every European legislative proposal to ensure it is up to standard with the Charter and European and national courts have progressively made the Charter a reference point in their judgements,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

I am glad to see the Charter is now fully alive serving as a real safety net for our citizens and as a compass for EU institutions, Member States and courts alike. I could imagine that one day citizens in the Member States will be able to rely directly on the Charter – without the need for a clear link to EU law. The Charter should be Europe's very own Bill of Rights."

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