A European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has been established in Vienna by Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007(OJ L 53/2 22.2.2007).
The respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are common values, shared by all EU Member Sates. According to Article 6 of the EU Treaty: “The Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law”.
The Agency’s goal is to provide relevant institutions and authorities of the Community and its Member States with assistance and expertise on fundamental rights when implementing community law, and to support them in taking measures and formulating appropriate courses of action.
The Agency has the following main tasks:
The Agency is NOT, however, empowered to examine individual complaints or to exercise regulatory decision-making powers.
The Agency’s thematic areas of work have been determined through a five-year Multiannual Framework (Decision (2008/203/EC), adopted by the Council after consultation with the European Parliament. The fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance remains included amongst the main priority areas of FRA.
The Agency is working closely with other institutions and bodies, operating at both the national and European level, and is developing a fruitful cooperation with the Council of Europe and with civil society, for instance through the creation of a Fundamental Rights Platform.
The bodies of the Agency are:
FRA covers the EU and its 28 Member States. In addition, candidate countries can participate in the work of the Agency as observers (Turkey, the FYROM – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), following a decision by the relevant Association Council determining the particular nature, extent and manner of their participation in FRA’s work. The Council may also invite countries that have concluded a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU to participate in FRA.
The Fundamental Rights Agency has been built upon the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1035/97 of 2 June 1997 ( OJ L 151, 10.6.1997).
Working between 1997 and February 2007, the EUMC provided the Community and its Member States with objective, reliable and comparable information and data on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the EU. The aim was to help the EU and its Member States undertake measures or formulate courses of action against racism and xenophobia. The EUMC studied the extent and development of racism and xenophobia, and analysed their causes, consequences and effects. This was achieved primarily through the European information network on racism and xenophobia (RAXEN), which collected relevant information at the national level. The EUMC developed strategies to combat racism and xenophobia, while also highlighting and disseminating examples of good practice in tackling these key issues.