Putting human rights at the heart of Europe’s future - Meeting report

Europe stands at a delicate moment in its history. It is a moment of existential significance for the wellbeing and sustainability of our societies. It is emerging from the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease, only to face a set of major overlapping challenges. These pose profound questions about the political, economic and societal future of the continent. To discuss elements of a human rights vision for the future and to identify opportunities for action, FRA brought together a group of sixty human rights leaders and experts with diverse backgrounds
from across the continent. This report distils the meeting discussions, including analysis and ideas, and concludes with proposals for action. It does not represent the views either of individual participants or of FRA.

FRA brought together a group of human rights leaders and experts to consider what contribution human rights could make to addressing the global crises we are facing and to discuss how to engage the complexity of issues afflicting our world and to seek constructive ways forward. The discussions brought to the fore what works, rehabilitated what has been undervalued, proposed innovative approaches, sparked fresh thinking and participants offered each other mutual challenge, reflection and encouragement. In particular, we considered how we can do better together, demonstrating how partnerships can be transformative.

Despite the magnitude of the issues discussed, the meeting ultimately gave rise to a qualified sense of hope, as fragile as the grounds may be. Cultivating hope involves optimism and pragmatism, breaking down the seemingly impossible into achievable steps, and being propositional about the future. The focus must be on building political will and public support for change and coalitions to enable this.