EU launches independent body on fundamental rights

EUMC becomes FRA (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights).

FRA's interim Director and interim Chairperson welcome today's launch

"Independence is key to future success of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)," said Anastasia Crickley, the interim Management Board's Chairperson, at the launch of FRA today in Vienna, "and the EUMC provides a good foundation to achieve that. The year 2007 will be a period of transition. It is important to give the Agency the time, resources and support to develop into the EU's centre of competence on fundamental rights".

"The journey towards greater awareness and protection of fundamental rights began in the Council of Europe and FRA fully intends to develop the EUMC's close working relationship with our colleagues there in what we view as a common enterprise", said interim Director Beate Winkler.

Beate Winkler continued: "Equally important to the Agency's effectiveness will be the EUMC's working relations with other bodies - the European Parliament, European Commission, EU Member States and international and national organisations. FRA will build and expand on these and place greater emphasis on its links with civil society on fundamental rights matters."

"The Agency's central task of data collection is a recognition that reliable and accurate information is crucial in creating policies to promote and protect fundamental rights for all in the EU. Over the coming year the new priorities of the Agency will be decided and the broader mandate will complement the EUMC's existing work on racism. Monitoring racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism remains core business for FRA. Placing the combat against racism into fundamental rights says loud and clear: Equality is a right, not a privilege."

"As a recent Eurobarometer survey shows, the vast majority of people in the EU (73%) want the Union to play a greater role in the protection of fundamental rights. Once fully operational the Agency will help the EU meet this expectation. The strong support demonstrated by European politicians at today's launch gives us a good start," concluded Anastasia Crickley.

For further information, please contact the FRA Media Team: +43 (1) 580 30 642

More information about the Fundamental Rights Agency, its mandate and first priorities is available on the FRA website: