The Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group was created as a horizontal body within the European Economic and Social Committee in 2018. It has been tasked with enhancing the contribution of organised civil society in strengthening fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law and responding to the shrinking civic space for civil society organisation.
An essential concern for the FRRL Group has been to get as close as possible to the reality on the ground in order to relay the voice of grassroots civil society organisations. Like other EU institutions, the EESC considers it essential to monitor the development of fundamental rights and the rule of law in Europe in a comprehensive way. For this reason the FRRL Group decided from the very outset to visit all the EU Member States.
Seven country visits took place in 2018-2019 in Romania, Poland, Hungary, Austria, France, Bulgaria and Italy.
The report highlights trends in Europe based on these first seven country visits. It updates the interim report published in November 2019, integrates the main conclusions of the November 2019 conference on ‘Fundamental rights and the rule of law – Trends in the EU from a civil society perspective’, and annexes country reports and observations by the national authorities.