News Item

EU funds for fostering equality and inclusion

cutout figures holding hands.
Vasily Merkushev ©, 2023
EU funds must respect fundamental rights and are a key driver for equality and inclusion. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on the EU and its Member States to involve national human rights institutions, ombuds institutions and equality bodies in the programming, implementing and monitoring of EU funds. This will prevent EU money from being spent in ways that undermine or directly violate our rights.

To ensure that EU funded projects and programmes respect fundamental rights, the EU introduced new strict requirements in 2021.

FRA’s report on ‘EU funds: Ensuring compliance with fundamental rights’ suggest ways to ensure the new rules are being upheld and people’s rights respected.

FRA calls on the EU and its Member States to:

  1. involve fundamental rights experts explicitly throughout all stages of funding and make better use of their expertise, data and findings;
  2. monitor and evaluate how national authorities spend EU money to ensure rights are respected;
  3. provide actors with the necessary resources, human, financial and technical, to ensure they can monitor EU funds effectively;
  4. raise awareness of complaints mechanisms and ensure that complaints can identify and effectively address rights violations.

EU funding rules state that authorities managing these funds must ensure compliance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and implement the obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Authorities should also involve civil society and other fundamental rights actors to ensure that these obligations are duly respected.

This report is based on desk research, national roundtables, and stakeholder interviews in 12 Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia.