2010. 06. 22.
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament held a two-day hearing on the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The conference, led by Kinga Gál MEP (EPP) and Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D), welcomed Commissioner Viviane Reding as well as a range of experts and NGOs.
In her introductory speech Kinga Gál outlined the important purpose of the hearing to discuss what the new Charter will mean to EU citizens and how they can best make use of the new architecture of rights now available. Mrs Gál, who is also the LIBE rapporteur on the EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and is currently drafting the report on Fundamental Rights in the European Union in 2009, described it as the “new momentum” in Europe regarding the establishment of an area of freedom security and justice.
Mrs Gál discussed how, in her forthcoming report, she will focus on the existing and emerging institutions, structures and mechanisms relating to the protection of fundamental rights and aim to establish a fully functioning system and synergies for Charter implementation. She said that “the overall aim is to clarify the roles of each institution to better cope with the expectations of EU citizens.” In the debate Kinga Gál suggested that the Fundamental Rights Agency’s remit could be revised so that they are able to deal with the new challenges of the post-Lisbon era.
Commissioner Reding’s presentation mapped out the next steps that the Commission will take in implementing the Charter. The Commissioner emphasised that all new Commission legislation will be scrutinised to ensure that it does not contravene the Charter and that, furthermore, the Commission has zero tolerance of any infringements on the Charter by member states when implementing EU law. In addition, there will be an impact assessment of each new Commission policy option regarding the Charter.
Responding to questions relating to the use of minority languages and discrimination, Ms Reding emphasized that the Commission will concentrate on this topic in future, furthermore she proposed a new DG with a ‘one-stop-shop’ for minority rights. The Commissioner underlined that while the internal language policy of member states remains under a state’s competence regarding regional or minority languages, if there is an infringement of EU law, the Commission will intervene.
Concluding the two-day hearing Mrs Gál emphasized that it was "essential that the new momentum is linked to peoples’ everyday existence”. Continuing, she said, “We will all have to make the most of this opportunity and ensure that we don’t lose momentum, we want to see changes for EU citizens, that is the aim after all.”