Press Release

Sirpa Rautio to become new FRA Director

Sirpa Rautio was appointed FRA Director on 14 December 2023
The Management Board of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has appointed Sirpa Rautio to be the next Director of the Agency.

"It is with great pleasure that FRA’s Management Board announces the appointment of Sirpa Rautio as the next FRA Director," says Rick Lawson, Vice-Chair of the Board. "Her breadth of knowledge and experience on human rights at the national, European and international level will steer the Agency over the coming years at a time when challenges to human rights are many and varied."

"I am proud to be chosen as the head of this much-respected EU Agency," says FRA incoming Director Sirpa Rautio. "With human rights under pressure, I look forward to working closely with FRA staff and its Management Board in promoting, protecting and advancing human rights together throughout the EU."

Sirpa Rautio is currently Director of the Finnish Human Rights Centre and Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI). She also chaired FRA’s Management Board from 2017 to 2020. She has served many years in international and regional human rights organisations such as the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the EU working for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

FRA’s Management Board voted on the appointment of the new Director at its meeting on 14 and 15 December 2023. The newly appointed Director will take up duty in the coming months. The current Director, Michael O’Flaherty, was appointed in September 2015. His term expires today, 15 December 2023.

"The FRA Management Board extends its profound gratitude to Michael O’Flaherty for his dedication and leadership of the Agency over the past eight years," says Rick Lawson, Vice-Chair of the Board.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to serve and lead FRA over the past eight turbulent years as Europe has faced multiple crises," says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. "This enriching experience has underlined the vital importance of the work of the Agency and its staff, in close cooperation with its many partners and stakeholders, in championing human rights for a better, more inclusive and equal world."

About the selection procedure for FRA Director

The selection procedure for a new Director is set out in FRA's Founding Regulation. A shortlist is drawn up by the European Commission. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU both give their opinions and orders of preference after interviewing each shortlisted candidate. Their views are taken into account by the Management Board. The final decision rests with FRA’s Management Board.

The Director's term of office is five years. The Management Board may extend the term once, for not more than five years, in accordance with FRA’s Founding Regulation.

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