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Fundamental rights

The EU is based on the values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Respecting and promoting fundamental rights

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union  (the Charter) brings together into a single text all the personal, civic, political, economic and social rights enjoyed by people within the EU.

The Charter became legally binding across the EU with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The EU institutions must respect the rights enshrined in the Charter.

The Charter also applies to EU countries but only when they implement EU law.

The Charter's provisions do not extend to the competences as defined in the EU Treaties. The EU cannot intervene in fundamental rights issues in areas over which it has no competence.

Moreover, with the Lisbon Treaty the EU will accede to the European Convention on Human Rights, making the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg competent to review EU acts.

Implementation of the Charter

The Commission adopted a strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter in October 2010. This aims to guarantee that the EU is beyond reproach in upholding fundamental rights.

As a framework for monitoring progress, since 2010 the Commission has published an annual report on the application of the Charter.

Rights of children

The promotion and protection of the rights of the child are two key objectives of the EU on which the Treaty of Lisbon has put further emphasis.

By enshrining the rights of the child, the Charter:

  • recognises that EU policies which directly or indirectly affect children must be designed, implemented and monitored taking into account the principle of the best interests of the child;
  • guarantees the right to such protection and care as is necessary for the well-being of children;
  • recognises the need to protect children from abuse, neglect and violations of their rights, and situations which endanger their well-being.


Other Fundamental Rights issues

In line with the implementation of the Charter, the Commission is promoting the fight against racism and xenophobia, homophobia and the protection of persons belonging to minorities.

While implementing the Fundamental Rights policy, the Commission relies on the data and information collected by the Fundamental Rights Agency .

Find out more.

*This text originates from the EU's official website: