The Fundamental Rights Agency

The Fundamental Rights Agency

2007. 07. 17.

Introductory statement as Rapporteur:

  • it is very important to stick to the principles, which have been formulated in the first report on the Agency, when discussing its mandate and structure in detail and accordingly, to keep the proposal's high level of ambition
  • it is essential to create an Agency, which is simultaneously independent and responsible  -a balance needs to be found between these two requirements, always keeping in mind that most important is to create a functional and efficient body (a dynamic one, not a Paper Tiger)
  • in order to achieve this aim, a close active cooperation is needed among the three European institutions; above all a political consensus has to be achieved

The current debate:

  • the procedure of decision-making in issues related to the setting up of the Agency is also important, especially for the Parliament: a de facto consultation between the three European institutions: the Council, Commission and Parliament
  • relationship with the Council of Europe: a functional model of cooperation should be worked out, to avoid any duplication and to create synergies on this particular field of action -to emphasize the complementary nature of roles and tasks  (participation of COE in the decision-making structure of the Agency, the conditions to be regulated in a bilateral agreement)
  • structure: envisaged as a "network of networks", embracing all existing institutions, initiatives, professional circles and civic movements, special relationship with the separate Gender Institute
  • the mandate of the Agency: activities to be covered -Charter, addressing the issue of traditional national minorities

-the designation of a Multi-Annual Framework, as proposed by the Commission: the Parliament should be involved, ensure flexibility for the Agency to react to urgent human rights concerns

priorities and topicalities should be formulated in this program in order to avoid that a too broad mandate goes against the efficacy in operation

  • the remit of the Agency: to expand the geographical scope of the proposal: not only to candidate countries, but exceptionally also to neighbouring countries (to the extent a Community policy is concerned, responding to a practical necessity in implementing the Community policy in question)
  • budget and staff:

-without sufficient financial means the aims of creating an independent and efficient body would vanish

                  -staff should be carefully selected reflecting the complex mandate of the Agency

In conclusion:

-the presence of the rapporteur in such a conference, organised by the Amnesty International mainly for civil society representatives, already shows the  openness of the present proposal: all actors need to be listened to before a decision  is taken, since it is a common interest to have an Agency that best serves the needs of European citizens