Annual Report 2010

This report covers information, events and developments in the EU for the year 2009, after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The report relies on data collected from the ground to describe the situation of fundamental rights in all 27 Member States.

Key findings

Fundamental rights under the Treaty of Lisbon

The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon at the end of 2009 has significantly strengthened the protection of fundamental rights in the EU. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must now be respected by the European Union, as well as by EU Member States when implementing EU law. Against this backdrop, the Agency's Annual Report 2010 presents some of the most significant events and developments relevant to fundamental rights during 2009.

Human rights protection bodies need more support

Many equality bodies, national human rights institutions and data protection authorities lack resources, are not independent enough, and often have very weak mandates.

The example of data protection authorities:

Data protection is an issue of concern across the European Union. However, the data protection authorities in many Member States are not sufficiently equipped to contribute effectively to the enforcement of data protection legislation. Some data protection authorities have limited powers. In Austria, Hungary and Poland the data protection authorities cannot enforce their decisions, meaning they cannot compel the data processor/controller to end his or her unlawful conduct.

Some data protection authorities are too closely linked to or controlled by the government, which might make it difficult for them to oppose or criticise the government. In Ireland, the government can directly remove the data protection commissioners from office. Data protection authorities also lack financial and human resources in Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia.