Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law

The EU is not only a common market; it is a union of common values that shape the European identity. These values are set out in the Treaty on the European Union and also include the rights, freedoms and principles laid out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights: the "indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity; [the Union] is based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. It places the individual at the heart of its activities, by establishing the citizenship of the Union and by creating an area of freedom, security and justice."

The Charter brings together into a single text all the personal, civic, political, economic and social rights enjoyed by people within the EU and apply to the EU institutions and Member States when they implement EU law.

The EESC is very active in the promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, and especially in the fight against discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, disability or gender. In 2018, it established the Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law to further expand analysis of the situation across Europe and promote a constructive dialogue amongst all stakeholders.

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Trends in the EU from a civil society perspective

In July 2019, the European Commission published a Communication entitled 'Strengthening the rule of law within the Union – A blueprint for action', which details actions on the promotion, prevention, and response aspects. The EESC, on its side, made proposals in a series of key Opinions over the past years, and has set up a transversal Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FFRL) in 2018. The FRRL Group leads country visits and seeks to provide a forum for European CSOs to share their assessment on the state of fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law in the Member States.

05/11/2019
Publication
8 pages

For the current mandate (October 2020 to April 2023) of the Civil Society Organisations’ Group (Group III), it has been decided to concentrate on the topic of poverty and on the role of civil society organisations and citizens' initiatives in combating it. The objective of the work programme of Group III for this period is to contribute to making local communities more sustainable, resilient, equitable, productive and socially just, whilst also upholding the highest levels of democratic governance, respect for rights and the rule of law.

Published in: 
2022
Publication
64 pages

What kind of Europe do you dream of?
Civil society and the Conference on the Future of Europe
Lisbon, 18-19 November 2021

Published in: 
2022
Publication
Study
76 pages

This report examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the work of civil society organisations (CSOs) across Europe. It also focuses on how solutions implemented in individual EU Member States have impacted CSOs' ability to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Published in: 
2022

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