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Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)

This Regulation establishes the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), in order to extend the mandate of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The objective of the Agency, which became operational on 1 March 2007, is to provide the Community institutions and the Member States of the European Union (EU) assistance and expertise on fundamental rights.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

SUMMARY

The objective of the Agency is to provide Community institutions and bodies and Member States of the European Union (EU) with assistance and expertise on fundamental rights when implementing Community law. The Agency aims to help the institutions, bodies and Member States fully respect these rights.

The Agency collects data on fundamental rights in the areas of Community competence listed in its Multi-annual Framework Programme. The Agency is open to participation by candidate countries. The Council may also decide to invite countries that have a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU to participate in the work of the Agency. Thus, the gradual alignment of these countries’ legislation with Community law is facilitated, and their efforts towards European integration supported.

The Multi-annual Framework, covering a period of five years, identifies the Agency’s thematic areas of activity. These areas must include the fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The tasks of the Agency must be carried out within the confines of the thematic areas of activity and include:

  • independent collection, analysis, dissemination and evaluation of relevant, objective, reliable and comparable information and data on the specific effects on fundamental rights of action taken by the EU, and on good practice in terms of respect for and promotion of these rights;
  • development, in cooperation with the Commission and the Member States, of standards to improve the comparability, objectivity and reliability of data at European level;
  • scientific research and surveys, preparatory studies and feasibility studies;
  • formulation and publication of conclusions and opinions on specific thematic topics and on the development of fundamental rights in implementing policies, aimed at the European institutions and the Member States when implementing Community law;
  • publication of an annual report on fundamental rights issues covered by the areas of the Agency's activity;
  • publication of thematic reports based on its analyses;
  • publication of an annual activity report;
  • development of a communication strategy, and promotion of dialogue with civil society in order to raise public awareness of fundamental rights.

The Agency must coordinate its activity and establish a cooperation network with civil society (‘Fundamental Rights Platform’) involving various fundamental rights players. The idea is to exchange information, pool knowledge and ensure cooperation between the Agency and the relevant stakeholders.

The Agency must also establish close institutional relations at international, European and national levels, particularly with the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the competent Community agencies, and governmental agencies and public bodies, including national institutions for the protection of human rights. The aim is to cooperate and avoid duplication of work.

The Agency’s bodies are structured as follows:

  • the Management Board (planning and monitoring body) comprises one independent person appointed by each Member State, one independent person appointed by the Council of Europe, and two representatives of the Commission. The term of office of Management Board members is five years and not renewable. The Management Board adopts the annual work programme and an annual activity report. It appoints and, if necessary, dismisses the Agency’s Director. It draws up the annual draft and final budgets;
  • the Executive Board is made up of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the Management Board, two other members of the Management Board elected by the Management Board, and one of the Commission representatives on the Management Board. The Management Board member appointed by the Council of Europe may also participate in the meetings of the Executive Board. The task of the Executive Board is to assist the Management Board;
  • the Scientific Committee is composed of 11 independent persons who are highly qualified in the field of fundamental rights. The members of the Scientific Committee are appointed by the Agency’s Management Board following a selection procedure and after consulting the competent committee of the European Parliament. Their term of office is five years and not renewable. The Scientific Committee is the guarantor of the scientific quality of the Agency’s work.

The Director of the Agency is appointed by the Management Board, taking into account the opinions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, from a list of candidates drawn up by the Commission. The Director is responsible in particular for the day-to-day administration, the performance of the Agency's tasks and the implementation of its budget.

The Agency’s staff and Director are subject to the regulations and rules applicable to officials and other servants of the European Communities. The Agency must develop good administrative practices in order to ensure the highest possible level of transparency concerning its activities.

The Agency’s budget, €15 million in 2008, is scheduled to reach up to €22 million by 2013. It is proposed that the Agency should have a total staff of around 80 by 2013. The budget will be covered by a Community subsidy, payments received for services rendered, and possible financial contributions from organisations with which the Agency cooperates, candidate countries and countries with which the EU has concluded a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The Agency's expenditure includes operating expenses, staff remunerations, and administrative and infrastructure costs.

Background

The Agency has been operational since 1 March 2007. It is the legal successor to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), having taken over its legal rights and obligations and its financial commitments. Regulation (EC) No 1035/97 establishing the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has been repealed with effect from 1 March 2007. The Agency is based in Vienna.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 168/2007

23.2.2007

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OJ L 53 of 22.2.2007

RELATED ACTS

Agreement between the European Community and the Council of Europe on cooperation between the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe [Official Journal L 186 of 15.7.2008].
This Agreement sets up a framework for the cooperation between the FRA and the Council of Europe. The purpose is first of all to avoid duplication, and secondly, to complement and provide added value to their work. The cooperation is based on regular contacts. To this end, a contact person is appointed in both organisations. In addition, representatives of each will be allowed to attend the other’s meetings as observers. The FRA and Council of Europe must ensure the exchange of all relevant, non-confidential data and information, and the wide dissemination of the results of their activities. To further promote complementarity, regular consultations are to be held between the two to coordinate the FRA’s activities. These consultations may also lead to the development of joint and/or complementary activities on the basis of their common interests.

Council Decision 2008/203/EC of 28 February 2008 implementing Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 as regards the adoption of a Multi-annual Framework for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for 2007-2012 [Official Journal L 63 of 7.3.2008].
This Decision establishes a Multi-annual Framework stipulating the Agency’s thematic action areas for the period 2007-12. The Framework contains nine thematic areas: racism, xenophobia and intolerance; discrimination; compensation of victims; the rights of the child; asylum, immigration and integration of migrants; visas and border control; participation of EU citizens in the EU’s democratic functioning; information society; and access to efficient and independent justice. The Agency can work outside these thematic areas at the request of the European Parliament, Council or Commission.

Last updated: 08.07.2009
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