Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

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ETSK:n lausunto: Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes the new strategy and its complementarity with the European democracy action plan, and the rule of law report, and suggests including the EU anti-racism action plan, the EU Disability and LGBTIQ Strategies in the comprehensive planning process.
  • calls urgently for a comprehensive European civil society strategy to strengthen the capacity of CSOs and human rights defenders, through training, organisational and financial support, and protection from attacks and smear campaigns. A mechanism for identifying and reporting attacks and harassment should be created. The Committee stands ready to assist in developing such a strategy and a mechanism.
  • stresses that the Charter of Fundamental Rights also includes social rights. Social dialogue should be enhanced and refocused on the fundamental rights set out in the Charter. Renewing its call that greater emphasis should be placed on Title III - Equality and IV - Solidarity as being central to a democratic, value-based Union.
  • notes the importance of Charter economic rights such as freedom of enterprise, right of property and those linked to the rule of law, and reiterates that the lack the rule of law is likely to negatively affect the mutual trust that underpins the internal market and hence economic growth in the EU.
  • urges the Commission to focus the 2022 report on the pandemic's effect on fundamental rights, especially those relating to socio-economic wellbeing, and thus firmly underline that social rights are fundamental rights. Special attention should be given to the rights, dignity and welfare of children, the elderly and people with disabilities, who experienced isolation in care homes.
  • urges the Commission to closely monitor whether EU funds are used in compliance with the Charter and suggests that Funds covered by the Common Provisions Regulation be monitored by committees that involve independent CSOs, and national human rights institutions.
  • encourages the Member States and the Commission to operationalise funding programmes for civil society and community groups defending human rights. The design of the programmes should protect the autonomy and independence of the funded entities. 
  • suggests that Member States set up national fundamental rights forums for cooperation between national human right institutions, equality bodies, ombudsmen, the Charter focal points and other public bodies, as well as CSOs and human rights defenders.
  • proposes that the Commission set up a special assistance programme to improve the NHRIs' capacity, enable better use of the expertise of the FRA, and organise Charter-related activities as part of its Conference on the Future of Europe, and to bring fundamental rights issues closer to the citizen and the public agenda.