FRA Charter resources

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
The Agency provides support and expertise on the EU Charter at different governance levels by delivering a series of products related to the Fundamental Rights Charter of the European Union.
  • Charter chapters in the Fundamental Rights Report

Every year the Agency delivers a Fundamental Rights Report to the EU institutions in which it identifies challenges and progress on fundamental rights in the areas of the Agency’s activities. One of the report’s chapters is specifically dedicated to the use of the Charter at national level. It looks into the use of the Charter in national courtrooms but also into how the Charter is used in the legislative processes at national level. It further tries to identify policies promoting the Charter and training events focusing on the Charter.

The relevant chapters of previous reports are accessible below, covering the following years:

The Charter case studies course can be used as a support for a face-to-face course or as a standalone course. It aims to help legal practitioners, law students and legal experts assess how the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is applied in a range of policy areas. Eight concrete cases as decided by the CJEU are presented together with questions about the applicability of the Charter in each one.

The trainers’ area takes you to a course aimed at legal experts who wish to host workshops on the application of the Charter. This section contains a comprehensive trainer’s manual with practical advice on the design and methodology that can be used in training, additional training material, and more. Trainers who intend to work with the case studies of this course are advised to consult the trainer’s manual “CHARTER CASE STUDIES”.  This manual provides the trainer with the methodology, material and advice needed to run face-to-face workshops on the applicability of the Charter for legal professionals and law students. For each case study the manual contains background information for trainers and handouts for participants. The respective handouts are also available for download under each case study.

The Charter e-guidance is an e-learning tool tailor-made for judges. However, it can be of equal relevance and assistance to other legal practitioners. It aims at providing practical guidance on the specific question of when and how the Charter of Fundamental Rights applies in a given case at national level. The tool therefore concentrates on Art. 51 of the Charter.

It has two components:

  1. A step-by-step guidance allowing to run a specific case through a series of questions, including the relevant replies – all concerning the applicability of the Charter;
  2. A set of concrete examples of cases allowing to test and exercise one’s knowledge.

In 2018 the agency launched a handbook providing guidance on the applicability of the Charter of fundamental rights. It is directed at persons involved in law and policy making at national level and aims to foster better understanding of the Charter, including when it applies in a concrete legislative file. Carrying out a detailed check on the Charter’s applica¬bility will always pay off. Even when the conclusion is that it does not apply, performing a “Charter check” emphasises the relevance of human rights in the context of law and policymaking. That is in itself an achievement as it helps strengthen awareness.

In close cooperation with European Court of Human Rights and with documentary support of the Court of Justice of the European Union the agency is producing handbooks on case law related to both the ECHR as well as the Charter of fundamental rights. The handbooks focus on specific thematic areas. So far the following thematic handbooks were published:

The Charter is most effective, and has a real impact on people’s lives, when parliaments, governments and courts at local, regional and national levels all actively apply it. The national sphere is particularly relevant. A strong fundamental rights architecture and committed national governments and parliaments are key to letting the Charter unfold its potential at this level. Civil society organisations (CSOs) and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) are also crucial given their contributions to the protection and promotion of Charter rights.

With this legal opinion the Agency has contributed to the European Parliament's own-initiative report on the “Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the EU institutional framework”, being prepared in the Parliament’s Committee for Constitutional Affairs (AFCO). The request aims at understanding the interaction between the Charter’s implementation at national and EU level, and whether there are “instruments, mechanisms and practices” available at EU level to assist Member States to better implement the Charter.

Copenhagen Seminar Report Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU and EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (15–16 March 2012).This report focuses on EU and national opportunities and challenges, and the work of law and policy makers, complaints mechanisms, specialised human rights bodies and civil society organisations.

Member States have an explicit duty to promote the Charter’s application. The country sheets support that effort by giving examples of the Charter’s use and highlighting how it adds value. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is the EU’s bill of human rights. It contains 50 articles with substantive rights and principles, followed by four articles with general provisions. Member States have a duty to respect the rights and observe the principles of the Charter whenever they are acting within the scope of binding EU law.

  • Charter videos

A five-minute video entitled ‘Apply the Charter, deliver our Rights’. Produced in 2019, it provides information on all six themes of the Charter. FRA presents these in separate 90-second videos (on dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights and justice) on its social-media channels.

Key statements from the FRA/Euractiv online event Reinforcing the EU Charter: rights of people in the EU in the next decade, 7 December 2020. (see also: Reinforcing the EU Charter event website)

See also FRA Charter material and tools