New report on fundamental rights in the EU: More political courage needed, say MEPs

Today the European Commission issued the first Annual Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The EU’s own ‘Bill of Rights’ lays down a binding legal framework to protect human rights in the European Union, including non-discrimination on grounds of sex and sexual orientation.

JusticeViviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of fundamental rights, has delivered on her pledge to analyse the EU’s human rights regime every year.

Members of the European Parliament welcomed the exhaustive overview of the Commission’s work on fundamental rights. However, some also regretted that the Commission sometimes failed to voice stronger concern for fundamental rights by speaking out publicly and taking legal action.

Raül Romeva i Rueda, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and MEP in charge of a draft Europe-wide anti-discrimination Directive, reacted: “This report shows the EU plays a fundamental role in safeguarding human rights. The European Parliament has repeatedly asked that the Commission take action to protect these rights, and it’s essential that President Barroso and Vice-President Reding keep pressing for this new anti-discrimination Directive.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “This report gives a good overview of how the Commission worked to bolster fundamental rights in the EU last year, and I applaud the work undertaken by Viviane Reding.”

“But Commissioners have been far too hesitant at times, and failed to show leadership in particular when a European consensus did not exist, such as on LGBT people’s fundamental rights.”

“While we must—and will—work together on applying the Charter within the limits defined by the Treaties, the Commission must also be firmer and quicker when reacting to injustice, both legally and politically.”

The European Parliament will now provide the Commission with comments on this first annual report.

Read more: