Finnish expert seminar explores fundamental rights challenges

Member States holding the Presidencies of the Council of the EU can play a key leadership role in addressing the EU’s persisting fundamental rights challenges, said the FRA Director in his keynote address at an expert seminar in Helsinki on 29 November.

He gave examples of how the upcoming Finnish Presidency could bring the discourse on fundamental rights into focus, drawing on some of the lessons captured during FRA’s Fundamental Rights Forum 2018 in September this year.

He spoke of the need to re-engage with the general population, as human rights advocacy has come to be seen as applying only to certain people, rather than in the interest of everyone. Communicating on human rights better was another topic he touched on. Here, FRA has developed tools in this area, which can be shared with Member States and interested institutions working on fundamental rights. He also underlined the need to get local. Even in a globalised world, it is still on the streets, in the neighbourhoods and in cities that rights come to life.

He gave examples of the agency’s work that incorporate these principles and show how Member States can profit from the Agency’s data in their policy work. He particularly cited FRA’s research in the areas of Roma inclusion and independent living, projects that were also conducted in Finland.

His speech was given as part of a series of meetings in preparation for Finland’s Presidency to agree on areas of cooperation between the government and FRA.