What you need to know about the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter

To guide national law and policy makers on how to best use the EU’s Fundamental Rights Charter, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has just published a handbook.

The handbook on applying the Charter nationally is a comprehensive guide on how and when the Charter applies.

It is primarily designed for national law and policy makers. This includes those working in governments, parliaments, as well as regional and local authorities. However, it is also useful for those in courts and human rights institutions across the EU.

Acknowledging the uncertainty whether or not the Charter applies to a given situation, even among experts, the handbook seeks to raise awareness and improve understanding of the Charter. In doing so, it also contributes to respecting and promoting fundamental rights across the EU.

The publication introduces the Charter, explaining where it sits within the EU’s fundamental rights system. It outlines why and when the Charter applies. It also provides guidance on applying the Charter rights to national laws and policies, as well as possible limitations.

There are also practical tools for law and policy makers. One checklist helps assess whether the Charter applies. A second checklist helps assess the compliance of draft legislation or draft policies with the Charter.

The handbook is available in English. Other language versions will follow.

It will be launched during a conference organised by the Austrian Presidency of the EU in cooperation with the European Commission and FRA. The event seeks to discuss avenues to enhance awareness, judicial training and implementation at the national level.

The handbook was developed following a call from the Council of the EU to develop tools to assist the Charter’s implementation at the national level. A recent FRA Opinion pointed to how the Charter’s potential can be better realised.

The handbook complements other FRA handbooks on access to justice, data protection, non-discrimination, child rights, as well as asylum, migration and borders. These handbooks present relevant case law from the European Courts in these areas.

Other relevant information concerning the EU Charter of Fundamental rights can be found online at FRA’s one-stop-shop ‘Charterpedia’.