Taking the pulse of today’s Europe of values

Gauging compliance with the values of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights needs to build on the wealth of existing international, EU and national data pooled in an EU fundamental rights information system, according to FRA’s latest Opinion.

The European Parliament asked FRA for its advice on developing a tool to objectively measure compliance with the values of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights that underpin the EU.

This led to FRA’s Opinion on the development of an integrated tool of objective fundamental rights indicators able to measure compliance with the shared values listed in Article 2 TEU based on existing sources of information

It found that there is a large body of data, information and analysis that can be called on in any assessment. However, it is scattered among the various bodies responsible for monitoring and reporting on fundamental rights. These range from international bodies such as the UN, Council of Europe, and the EU institutions to various human rights bodies and courts at the national level.

Such information should be used to feed fundamental rights indicators that need to be developed. These indicators should measure not just fundamental rights commitments in laws, but the policies that are put place to enact these laws, and the effects of these laws and policies on the people that they are meant to help. Contextual information to support the findings from the indicators would also be needed to better explain the results. This could be from experts, civil society or human rights treaty bodies or specialist agencies such as FRA.

Any EU mechanism to monitor respect for the values would also benefit from a single access point, such as an EU fundamental rights information system. This information pool could feed the indicators and lead to regular progress reports. Together they could be used in discussions at EU and national levels on how to better protect and promote fundamental rights.

FRA’s assessment serves to highlight the importance on drawing on existing data and information in any assessment of Europe’s shared values. The opinions are meant to feed into the European Parliament’s assessment report on ‘establishing an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights’.

FRA issues Opinions on specific thematic topics, following requests for advice from the European Parliament, the EU Council or the European Commission. These Opinions are part of the agency's fundamental rights assistance and expertise that it provides to EU institutions and Member States.