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Charter of Fundamental Rights

The Charter of Fundamental Rights consolidates in a single document the fundamental rights applicable at the European Union (EU) level. It establishes ethical principles and rights for EU citizens and residents that relate to dignity, liberty, equality, solidarity, citizenship and justice. While the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is limited to protecting civil and political rights, the Charter goes further to cover workers' social rights, data protection, bioethics and the right to good administration.

The provisions of the Charter are addressed to the institutions and bodies of the EU, as well as to its Member States. EU and national legislation must be consistent with the principles laid down in the Charter. However, the Charter has legal application only when the institutions and Member States are implementing EU law. It does not extend the competences of the Union beyond those already granted in the Treaties.

The United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic have secured an opt-out from the application of the Charter.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights was solemnly proclaimed by the Nice European Council on 7 December 2000. It is based on the Community Treaties, international conventions, constitutional traditions common to the Member States and various European Parliament declarations. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the Charter (as amended in December 2007) received the same legal value as the Treaties and became equally binding.

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