Fundamental rights

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Fundamental rights
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Live in a democratic society that guarantees equality and protects my human rights and freedoms.

United in diversity

We’re all different – it’s what makes life interesting. Living in the EU, I’m able to lead a free and equal life, regardless of my gender, age, disability, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Speak up

Whether I’m tweeting about a new film, telling a friend about my religion, or talking about a protest I’ve seen on the news, my opinion is valuable and I’m entitled to voice it. It’s what makes democracy tick. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of the EU, and wherever I live, I have the right to talk about my ideas and beliefs.

Hot off the press

Wherever I get my news – whether that be online, on TV or from a newspaper – every media outlet is free to report current events accurately, no matter how critical of a policy or political party they are. This enables me to develop informed opinions about political events, consumer issues, and the kind of society I want to live in. Luckily, the Commission is working with platforms like Facebook and Twitter to curb online hate speech and terrorism, so if I do spot something illegal, I can report it and they will remove the post.

Fair and just

Things don’t always go to plan, but in these situations I know that the EU is here to help ensure an unbiased solution is found. I have the right to justice and a fair trial, and I can access documents and records held by the EU. I can also bring any case to the European Court of Justice if I feel that there’s cause for concern over the legality of an act, that power has been misused, or that an organisation shows a lack of competence. And if I feel I’m not treated fairly by a European institution, I can refer my case to the Ombudsman.

Working together, fairly

The workplace can be stressful at times, so it’s reassuring to know that the EU is protecting my rights when I’m there. If I feel I’m being treated differently at work – perhaps due to my religion or sexual orientation – then I can contact my national equality body, trade union, or any relevant non-governmental organisation, which will be able to help me. EU laws mean that I should be treated in the same way as everyone I work with, to make sure that I can have a full and happy career.

How it works

As someone living in the EU, my rights and freedoms are laid out in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. In this document, the EU makes it clear that everyone is born free and equal in the respect and rights they deserve. The charter ensures that citizens of the EU – people of different age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and opinion – can live side by side in peace and harmony.    These principles are made possible by the EU rule of law, which means that everyone in each society has the same freedoms and legal rights and should receive the same treatment. It safeguards my right to vote and prevents governments abusing their power. 

    Did you know?



    of Europeans say they are familiar with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, while 35% have never heard of it.



    of Europeans have friends or acquaintances who are of a different religion or have different beliefs to them – and that number is rising.

    6 million


    The number of Roma people, Europe’s largest minority, who live in the EU. Most are EU citizens.

    Zero tolerance for discrimination


    The EU was the first international organisation to explicitly recognise sexual orientation as grounds of discrimination in law.

    Director's Video

    /euandme/file/shape-euandme-short-film-directed-jaco-van-dormael_enThe Shape: an #EUandME short film directed by Jaco Van Dormael

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    A storm is on the horizon. When a jet-black cloud engulfs a small village, the residents discover that it could put an end to more than just blue skies.


    /euandme/file/shape-euandme-short-film-directed-jaco-van-dormael_enThe Shape: an #EUandME short film directed by Jaco Van Dormael

    /euandme/file/shape-official-euandme-trailer_enThe Shape: the official #EUandMe trailer

    /euandme/file/behind-scenes-shape-euandme-short-film_enBehind the scenes of The Shape: an #EUandME short film

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