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This focus takes a closer look at the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which has been legally binding for 10 years. At EU level, it has gained visibility and sparked a new fundamental rights culture. At national level, awareness and use of the Charter are limited. Courts increasingly use the Charter, showing the impact of this modern instrument. But its use by governments and parliaments remains low. For instance, there is little indication of anyone regularly scrutinising national legislation that transposes EU law for compatibility with the Charter.
The Council of the EU has called on Member States to regularly exchange their experiences with the Charter and strengthen relevant national bodies. However, it is not easy to pinpoint exactly when the Charter applies at national level. This is a key hurdle to its fuller use. Low awareness of its added value compared with existing, long-established legal sources is another serious obstacle.
Legal practitioners who understand the Charter and can put it into practice at national and regional/ local levels can help widen its use and improve its implementation. As this focus underscores, more specialised training of national actors on the use of the Charter is thus essential.