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Similarly to the European Parliament and the Commission, the Council can request the FRA to undertake research and/or formulate opinions on fundamental rights issues.
Every five years, the Council of the European Union adopts the FRA Multi-annual Framework (MAF), which lays down the thematic areas of the Agency’s activities over the period. The results of FRA’s data collection and research feed into the discussions of relevant Council preparatory bodies, particularly the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens’ Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP), to which the Agency presents its annual report on fundamental rights every year. The FRA has also provided its data and expertise to the Schengen Evaluation Working Party, the Working Party on Frontiers, the Social Questions Working Party and other preparatory bodies.
When requested by the Council, FRA issues opinions on issues related to fundamental rights aspects of legislative or non-legislative files. For example, in 2008 the French Presidency of the Council asked the FRA to submit an Opinion on the proposal for a Council Framework decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR). In June 2013 the Irish Presidency of the Council requested the FRA to give an opinion in the context of the review of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia (2008/913/JHA).
In 2014 the Agency will present the results of its Survey on gender-based violence against women – research that was requested by the Spanish Presidency of the Council in 2010.
Apart from cooperation and contacts at expert level, the FRA Director participates in informal ministerial meetings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO).
Monika Laurinaviciute-Kocmann, Council of the European Union Liaison Officer