On 4 October, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty addressed the Rapporteur Group on External Relations of the Committee of Ministers at the Council of Europe. He stressed the importance of cooperation between the two bodies at a time when human rights are under increasing pressure.
Collaboration between FRA and the Council of Europe is already extensive at a number of operational levels, as FRA’s Director emphasised. Speaking on Roma inclusion, he talked of how both organisations are founding members of the Operational Platform on Roma Equality, with FRA also to share the results from a major, upcoming study on Roma with the Council. Both organisations already work together on and share methodologies for surveys.
He also mentioned FRA’s fruitful relationship with the European Court of Human Rights, particularly with relation to the joint handbooks produced on European human rights law. The latest of these, which relates to access to justice, provides a key resource to legal practitioners supporting those who face barriers to full access to justice.
He closed by saying that continued, and indeed intensified, cooperation was necessary in helping to ensure that fundamental rights are protected and respected across the EU. Earlier in the day, FRA’s Director met with Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland in order to discuss intensifying cooperation between FRA and the Council of Europe in a number of areas.