Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law

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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.

  • The images of the riot at the United States Congress and of people infiltrating the Capitol Building are shocking, deplorable and a warning sign for all. The Workers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee strongly condemns these events and declares its confidence in the democratic institutions of the United States.  All measures must be taken to ensure the peaceful and swift transfer of power to the rightfully elected President of the United States.

  • EESC Diversity Europe Group red-flags possible consequences for future of European Union

  • Statement by José Antonio Moreno Díaz, President of the Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law (FRRL) and Jukka Ahtela,  Vice-president of the Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law

  • Reference number
    17/2020

    The EESC says threats to the rule of law and fundamental rights and the shrinking space for civil society, as described in its report based on visits to several EU countries, may be further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis

  • Reference number
    53/2019

    The son of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in 2017 while reporting on government corruption, addressed the December plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and said that a European rule of law monitoring mechanism could help defend journalism against all forms of pressure.

  • The Grassroots view, the new podcast series launched by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), explores the hot topics everyone seems to be debating these days, but it does so from a civil society perspective, bringing testimonies from actors on the ground and accounts from EESC members who represent their interests in Brussels. Link to the podcast

  • Reference number
    45/2019

    Building on its newly published report on the rule-of-law situation in Europe, the EESC conference calls for a mature and structured dialogue between governments and civil society to reverse backsliding on the rule of law in the EU

  • The EU should amplify the voice of those standing up for rights and freedoms and involve them more closely in its work to safeguard the rule of law

  • An EESC visit to Poland finds the country increasingly divided and its civil society hampered in the exercise of fundamental freedoms