FRA research: providing robust, comparable data and analysis

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides "assistance and expertise on fundamental rights to the relevant institutions and authorities of the Community and its Member States," in line with its founding regulation 168/2007.

The FRA bases this assistance on evidence, produced by its teams of legal and social science experts, who collect and analyse "objective, reliable and comparable information and data".

Drawing on this research, the FRA formulates "conclusions and opinions" for European Union (EU) and national decision makers to support them when they "take measures or formulate courses of action [...] to fully respect fundamental rights." FRA assistance and expertise thus contributes to more informed, solidly framed and contextualised debates and policies on fundamental rights in the EU and EU Member States.

The FRA engages in legal and social science research to pinpoint practices within the EU that show promise in their adherence, promotion and respect for fundamental rights and to identify areas where there remains work to be done to meet internationally accepted standards. These standards are found in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which sets forth a binding list of rights for the EU and its Member States when interpreting and applying EU law. Reference is also made to treaties and other instruments of the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

To ensure the comparability of findings, FRA research typically covers all EU Member States. Comparable data are crucial to portraying comprehensively the situation on the ground.

The FRA may, however, limit its work to selected EU Member States when, for example: a topic is not relevant to all EU Member States; it is testing a new research questionnaire; or resources are limited.