Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2010

2010 marked the first year the European Union (EU) operated on the basis of a legally binding bill of rights - the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. This year's annual report of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights puts the spotlight on the achievements and challenges of the EU and its Member States as they strive to inject robust life into their fundamental rights commitments.

Steps forward in 2010 included, among many, the reinforcement of a fundamental rights check of EU legislative proposals and the adoption of the regulation on the Citizen's initiative - an important new EU participatory democracy tool. Moves by several Member States to strengthen or create National Human Rights Institutions or the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights or Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the EU complemented this picture.

Still, there is no room for complacency. The EU continues to face various issues of concern in the fundamental rights field, such as persisiting and extreme poverty as well as social exclusion among Roma communities and deteriorating conditions of asylum seekers in certain Member States. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights delivered over 600 judgments for violations of human rights against almost all 27 EU Member States.

This report examines progress on EU and Member States rights obligations under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, covering the following topics: situation of Roma in the EU; asylum immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society and data protection; the rights of the child and protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism and ethnic discrimination; participation of EU citizens in the Unions democratic functioning; access to efficient and independent justice; and victims' protection.