Commissioner Viviane Reding: The Charter of Fundamental Rights must become a reality for EU citizens

Speaking at the European Parliament this morning, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship said she was keen on making the Charter of Fundamental Rights a reality for EU citizens.

Commissioner Viviane RedingToday and yesterday, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs hosted a public hearing on the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the development of a European area of freedom, security and justice.

Commissioner Reding described the Charter becoming legally binding (with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon) as “a breakthrough in EU law”, insisting that it must now become “a compass for the whole College of Commissioners, the European Parliament and the Council” when preparing EU legislation.

She announced that the Commission will produce an official communication on the implementation of the Charter near October this year, which will be followed by annual reports on its implementation, to be debated every year by the Parliament and Council.

Furthermore, the Commissioner explained that when the Commission considers different options for EU laws in the future (a process known as impact assessment), it will now include a fundamental rights chapter exposing “the degree of interference with fundamental rights, as well as the necessity of such an interference”.

Viviane Reding concluded by stressing that the Charter of Fundamental Rights must become a reality for EU citizens, and that this requires the Commission, the Parliament and the Member States to work together with this new legal instrument.

Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights specifies that “Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.”