June 6, 2018
Published: European Commission
Commission reports shows that further support to the respect and promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy will remain central in 2018
The European Commission published today its annual Report on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The report highlights that while 2017 was a year of challenges for fundamental rights, the structures and tools in place to make sure the rights of the Charter are a reality have been functioning. Further support to the respect and promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, including the support for a free and vibrant civil society, will remain central in 2018.
The report underlines the need for a renewed support to democracy. The role of civil society and current challenges were put to the fore in 2017. Support to civil society is included prominently in the multiannual financial framework and a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund was adopted on 30 May this year.
The report shows some very encouraging strides in the areas of social rights, with the adoption of the European Pillar of Social rights and its follow-up actions. It adopted initiatives to ensure better work-life balance opportunities for people with caring responsibilities. The Commission has proposed to ensure more predictable and transparent working conditions, in particular for workers in non-standard forms of employment such as those with zero-hours or on-demand contracts.
According to the report, The EU’s signing of the Istanbul convention on preventing and combating violence against women is a significant step. It will now be important to ensure swift ratification by the EU. The Commission also presented an action plan to combat the gender pay gap.
The Communication on the protection of the children in migration presented urgent actions to be implemented at the EU and national level, which were followed by Council conclusions in June 2017. The Commission established a European Network on Guardianship to facilitate cooperation between national authorities.
The Commission strengthened its cooperation with IT companies, national authorities and civil society organisations to ensure that online illegal hate speech is quickly identified and taken down, and assisted Member States in their efforts to step-up enforcement of EU law on hate crime, access to justice, protection and support for victims of hate crime.
Following its Communication “Better Results Through Better Application”, the Commission assisted Member States in their efforts to step-up enforcement of EU law for the benefit of individuals and businesses. In the context of the European Semester, the Commission addressed country-specific recommendations to help Member States improve their justice systems.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became legally binding. The provisions of the Charter are primarily addressed to the EU institutions and then to the national authorities only when they are implementing EU law. The Commission adopted a Strategy on the effective implementation of the Charter in which it committed to prepare annual reports covering the full range of Charter provisions. This year’s report is the 7th report of its kind.