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Every five years, the Council 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 Council Working Parties on Schengen Matters, Frontiers, Social Questions, e-Law and other preparatory bodies. FRA Director participates in informal Ministerial meetings of the Justice and Home Affairs Council and contributes to discussions in strategic committees, such as Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI), and Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA).
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 under the French Presidency 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 under Irish Presidency 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 presented the results of its Survey on gender-based violence against women – research that was requested by the Council under the Spanish Presidency in 2010.
FRA regularly hosts joint events on fundamental rights issues in cooperation with Council Presidencies and its General Secretariat. For example, in 2014 FRA held a high level launch conference of the agency’s Violence against women survey under the auspices of the Greek Presidency; and a high level event on LGBTI equality under the Italian Presidency. In 2015 FRA report on Severe forms of labour exploitation was launched in a joint event with Latvian Presidency. Fundamental rights trainings to Member States’ delegations and Council staff are regularly held in cooperation with General Secretariat of the Council. Meetings of the FRA Working party on hate crime are regularly held in cooperation with Council Presidencies.
Monika Laurinaviciute-Kocmann, Council of the European Union Liaison Officer