FRA Symposium: Promoting the rule of law in the EU

The fourth annual Symposium of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) will focus on the rule of law and reflect on how it is implemented in EU Member States. This year’s symposium will contribute to discussions on the need to fully embrace the rule of law across the EU.

FRA Symposium: Promoting the rule of law in the EU

Key speakers

  • Morten Kjaerum

    Morten Kjaerum

    Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Prior to taking this position in June 2008, Mr Kjaeurm worked on Human Rights for 25 years.

  • Kathleen Lynch

    Kathleen Lynch

    Appointed Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People in the Department of Health and Department of Justice, Equality and Defence on 10th March 2011. Minister Lynch was elected to Cork Corporation in 1985 and first elected to Dáil Eireann in 1994.

  • Rui Tavares

    Rui Tavares

    Member of the European Parliament (Independent/European Greens), Portuguese historian and columnist. He works in the areas of Civil Freedoms, Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights, Culture, and economic affairs.

  • Emmanuel Crabit

    Emmanuel Crabit

    Head of the unit "General justice policies and judicial systems" in the Directorate General for Justice.

The symposium will examine two themes in particular:

  • Key fundamental rights elements of the rule of law, including appropriate operational indicators;
  • Existing experiences in evaluation and ’measuring‘ the rule of law.

These themes are approached with the following objectives in mind:

  • To provide a forum for discussing the rule of law in the EU, ensuring a strong fundamental rights perspective;
  • To allow the exchange of ideas between academia, monitoring bodies and policy makers;
  • To explore ideas related to promoting the rule of law.


The need for a reflection on the promotion of the rule of law in the EU was already put forward in 2009 by the Dutch Minister of Justice. This need has since been reinforced by other Member States, by the European Commission (President Barroso "State of the Union 2012 Address"), by the European Parliament and the present Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. There are strong arguments for an enhanced focus on the rule of law for the protection of rights of people living in the EU; for economic growth (rule of law as an incentive for investment and trade); for freedom of movement (to create a common area of justice which works in a similar way); for internal-external cohesion (ensuring what is promoted in third countries also happens ‘at home’); and to identify and promote best practices.

A stronger focus on the rule of law would also address the dilemma with the Copenhagen criteria: while there are strict requirements for future EU Member States, there is less leverage on members to make improvements once they have joined the EU.

Discussion will take into account the outcomes of the seminar organised by the Irish Presidency and the FRA on 9-10 May 2013, entitled ”A Europe of equal citizens: equality, fundamental rights, and the rule of law”.


The event will gather around 70 key experts from across Europe to discuss rule of law indicators from a fundamental rights perspective, including:

  • European Commission (DG JUST, DG ELARG)
  • Irish Presidency
  • Members of the FREMP Working Group of the Council of the EU
  • European Parliament (LIBE)
  • EU Member States representatives
  • Council of Europe, OSCE (ODIHR)
  • Academia
  • NGOs

Participation is upon invitation only.

FRA Symposium 2013 final report




Programme Symposium 2013

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