The European Commission has published its latest annual report on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the charter’s 10th anniversary.
The report, which covers the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights by the EU’s institutions and Member States, found increasing levels of awareness on the part of Member States’ authorities and policymakers of the importance of ensuring widespread compliance with the charter. The EU has adopted a number of initiatives which are actively compliant with the charter, including the General Data Protection Regulation; and national authorities including courts have made increased reference to the charter in forming verdicts.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “10 years on, the Charter of Fundamental Rights is living up to its promise. It is the buttress of our union of values and sets out our rights, freedoms and principles. For the charter to be most effective in people’s lives they must know about their rights and where to turn to when these are violated. This is why it is important to continue to spread the word about the charter and let people know what is truly theirs as Europeans.”
A Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Commission to mark the 10th anniversary of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights found that only 42% of respondents were aware of the existence of the charter, with 12% able to define what it is. Many respondents expressed consternation over their ignorance of matters pertaining to their own fundamental rights.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “The charter is being quoted by courts and applied by the EU through its recent initiatives to protect citizens’ rights. However, only 1 in 10 Europeans know what the charter is, which makes it difficult for people to use its full potential. That’s why I call upon national governments and all civil society and rights defenders to raise awareness and make the charter a reality for all citizens.”