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Research and data collection

The FRA has the task of collecting “objective, reliable and comparable” information and data. It carries out its research on particular themes across the EU rather than monitoring or assessing individual Member States.

Covering all or several EU Member States provides a comparative perspective that identifies existing challenges and promising practices on specific fundamental rights themes across the EU.

FRA research usually covers a specific fundamental rights topic across the EU – one example of which is its report on Homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the EU Member States (2010).

The agency often collects information about the protection of fundamental rights in the legal framework of the Member States and provides legal analysis. Sources of information include legislative instruments, court judgments and academic commentary. For example, see the FRA report on Access to justice in Europe: an overview of challenges and opportunities (2011).

To provide a comprehensive overview of the situation on the ground, the FRA uses a combination of legal analysis and data on the day-to-day experiences of individuals on the ground. Desk research is complemented with social research fieldwork, using surveys or interviews, or through analysing existing data.

For example, the European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS) interviewed 23,500 people from selected immigrant and ethnic minority groups in all 27 EU Member States. The results allowed the agency to provide useful and relevant indicators of discrimination, such as the proportion of victims who had experienced discrimination or a racially-motivated crime. This, in turn, revealed the levels of discrimination in different states felt by different ethnic minorities.

In some cases, the agency may report on an urgent fundamental rights situation in one Member State, where this falls within its mandate and where the situation has an impact on the EU. For example: Coping with a fundamental rights emergency – The situation of persons crossing the Greek land border in an irregular manner. Thematic Situation Report (2011).