96

result(s)

Word(s)
Publication type
Policy area
Author
Date

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Human Rights

28-06-2019

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political ...

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political arena, human rights are now often rejected on ideological grounds. The EU itself has not been spared by the current backlash. In its Member States, a populist wave has empowered some political forces that increasingly question the significance of core human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression. In these troubled times for human rights, opinion polls show that European citizens perceive human rights as one of the most important values for them personally and one of the values that best represent the EU itself. Having emerged from World War II and its atrocities, European countries were determined to secure lasting peace, and the Union they created is founded on respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, which guide and shape its legislation and policies. Within the EU, recent action has included new legislation on data protection and access to justice, the European Pillar of Social Rights, and initiatives to combat inequality, discrimination and hate speech. There is also an acknowledgement that more needs to be done to complete the legal framework to combat discrimination and strengthen internal mechanisms for upholding the rule of law. Human rights are additionally a general objective of EU external action. The EU is deeply committed to promoting human rights, as enshrined in international treaties, in its relations with third countries and with other multilateral regional and global institutions. During Parliament's last mandate, the EU consistently applied and deepened a range of policy approaches that strengthen its role and image as a normative power that inspires others through its example. Maintaining and consolidating this policy remains vital for preserving the EU's image and credibility as a normative power based on values, and one that has the capacity to act at a time when the principle of multilateralism is increasingly questioned. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Jewish communities in the European Union

21-01-2019

Europe's Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2018.

Europe's Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2018.

Action for damages against the EU

07-12-2018

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of ...

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However, these rules are notoriously vague and brief, and refer to the 'general principles common to the laws of the Member States' as the source for the rules of EU public tort law. Since the laws of the Member States on public torts differ significantly, the reference has been treated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as empowerment to develop EU public tort law in its own case law. The rules developed by the CJEU have been criticised by some academics as being very complex, non-transparent and unpredictable. Experts have also pointed out that the threshold of liability is set so high that actions for damages prove successful in very few cases only. According to the data available, from the establishment of the EU until 2014, the Court only actually granted compensation to applicants in 39 cases. As a result, some scholars have even pointed out that the principle of EU liability for public torts is 'illusory' and that action for damages is not an effective means of protecting fundamental rights. Other academics add that the question of establishing the principles of EU public tort law is not merely a technical issue, but a political one, as it touches upon fundamental questions of distributive justice and the form of government in the Union, and therefore should be the subject of democratic debate. This Briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

Religion and human rights

21-11-2018

Although on the EU agenda for decades, recent events, such as the migration crisis and the issues with the rule of law in some Member States, have brought the issue of values back into focus. EU values are those of equality, freedom and respect for human rights. Freedom of religion and belief has significant protections in the EU and under the international legal framework. Religion, represented by churches, religious communities and other actors, is also a significant factor in the protection and ...

Although on the EU agenda for decades, recent events, such as the migration crisis and the issues with the rule of law in some Member States, have brought the issue of values back into focus. EU values are those of equality, freedom and respect for human rights. Freedom of religion and belief has significant protections in the EU and under the international legal framework. Religion, represented by churches, religious communities and other actors, is also a significant factor in the protection and promotion of human rights, both in the world and in the European Union. International human rights bodies have even formalised the participation of religious actors, mostly through exchanges and dialogues, and the European Union is no exception. Its Article 17 Dialogue with churches, religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations offers an opportunity for those groups to make their voices heard at EU level. Religious actors have made significant contributions in, for example, migration, deradicalisation, social justice and education for tolerance. However, the role of religion in the human rights arena is sometimes perceived as challenging, since some religious actors and some secular human rights actors may not see eye-to-eye in some areas. Experts therefore suggest that it is important to maintain that all human rights have equal worth, that everyone who may be affected by the issue is included in the dialogue, and to try to find a compromise that will not alienate any party from further cooperation.

The future relationship between the UK and the EU in the field of international protection following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

15-10-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides expertise on the legal, institutional and technical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of international protection. More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UK–EU cooperation in the field, the legal standards that will be applicable to the UK following its withdrawal, ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides expertise on the legal, institutional and technical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of international protection. More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UK–EU cooperation in the field, the legal standards that will be applicable to the UK following its withdrawal, the areas of common interest in the field and the potential forms of future cooperation.

External author

Mirja GUTHEIL; Quentin LIGER; James EAGER; Aurélie HEETMAN; Micol TEDESCHI

European political parties and political foundations – Statute and funding

07-09-2018

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend the rules on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations. The proposal aimed to revise the existing, 2014, regulation ahead of the 2019 European elections, to address specific loopholes. The limited number of proposed amendments focus on providing more transparency, improving democratic legitimacy and strengthening enforcement. However, a more thorough revision will be considered ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend the rules on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations. The proposal aimed to revise the existing, 2014, regulation ahead of the 2019 European elections, to address specific loopholes. The limited number of proposed amendments focus on providing more transparency, improving democratic legitimacy and strengthening enforcement. However, a more thorough revision will be considered at a later date. Stakeholders shared the view that the 2014 regulation needs revising in advance of the 2019 European elections. Furthermore, the proposal came as a direct response to the European Parliament resolution of 15 June 2017, which called for the revision of the current legislation. Following agreement in trilogue in March 2018, the new regulation entered into force on 4 May 2018. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Security of ID cards and of residence documents issued to EU citizens and their families

13-07-2018

Currently, there are at least 86 different versions of ID cards, and 181 types of residence documents in circulation in the EU. The format and minimum standards for ID cards and residence documents is not regulated on EU level. In order to strengthen the security features of ID cards and residence documents of EU citizens and their non-EU family members, the European Commission published a legislative proposal. The impact assessment accompanying this proposal clearly explains the problems currently ...

Currently, there are at least 86 different versions of ID cards, and 181 types of residence documents in circulation in the EU. The format and minimum standards for ID cards and residence documents is not regulated on EU level. In order to strengthen the security features of ID cards and residence documents of EU citizens and their non-EU family members, the European Commission published a legislative proposal. The impact assessment accompanying this proposal clearly explains the problems currently encountered, and proposes adequate solutions. The Commission used different sources to substantiate the impact assessment and also undertook several stakeholder consultation activities. However, it is not systematically indicated which stakeholder group prefers which specific option. At times the impact assessment displays a lack of quantification, about which the Commission is open. More detailed information on the safeguards regarding the fundamental rights impact would have been desirable.

Data protection rules applicable to the European Parliament and to MEPs: Current regime and recent developments

20-06-2018

Data protection is a fundamental right enshrined in both primary and secondary EU law. More specifically, the main reference for data protection in Europe is the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is fully applicable since 25 May 2018. Moreover, specific data protection rules (currently Regulation 45/2001) apply to the EU institutions. The latter are under review, to adapt their principles and provisions to the GDPR. The processing of data relating to parliamentary activities is ...

Data protection is a fundamental right enshrined in both primary and secondary EU law. More specifically, the main reference for data protection in Europe is the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is fully applicable since 25 May 2018. Moreover, specific data protection rules (currently Regulation 45/2001) apply to the EU institutions. The latter are under review, to adapt their principles and provisions to the GDPR. The processing of data relating to parliamentary activities is therefore covered by these specific rules, as is personal data relating to, or processed by, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). This Briefing provides an overview of the main provisions applicable to parliamentary activities and in particular to MEPs, taking account of the fact that the process of reforming the current rules has not been formally concluded (even if a political agreement has been reached between the co legislators). An update of this Briefing will be published in due course.

Media pluralism and media freedom in the EU

25-04-2018

Media freedom and pluralism are among the rights and principles enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as part of the Copenhagen criteria for membership of the EU, related to democracy and human rights. Despite that, there are currently concerns regarding threats to media freedom and pluralism in the EU. The own-initiative report on Media Pluralism and Media Freedom in the EU, due to be voted in plenary in May, aims at contributing ...

Media freedom and pluralism are among the rights and principles enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as part of the Copenhagen criteria for membership of the EU, related to democracy and human rights. Despite that, there are currently concerns regarding threats to media freedom and pluralism in the EU. The own-initiative report on Media Pluralism and Media Freedom in the EU, due to be voted in plenary in May, aims at contributing towards free and pluralistic media systems across the EU that play a key role in any democratic society.

Law enforcement access to financial data

11-04-2018

Access to financial data by law enforcement authorities is seen as critical for preventing crime. This briefing looks at the specific provisions contained in EU instruments that have facilitated this access, and examines the exchange of financial data at EU level but also with non-EU countries. It shows that such access has significantly broadened in the last decades. The private sector, which collects most of these data, has been increasingly regulated; as a result, the sources of information available ...

Access to financial data by law enforcement authorities is seen as critical for preventing crime. This briefing looks at the specific provisions contained in EU instruments that have facilitated this access, and examines the exchange of financial data at EU level but also with non-EU countries. It shows that such access has significantly broadened in the last decades. The private sector, which collects most of these data, has been increasingly regulated; as a result, the sources of information available to the competent authorities have multiplied. The exchange of these data at EU level has been furthermore considerably simplified. However, law enforcement authorities still see significant challenges to accessing and exchanging financial information. The Commission plans to address these challenges through a number of initiatives that it announced in its 2018 work programme. On the other hand, such broadened access does not occur without debates and controversies, in particular in relation to efficiency at the operational level, adequate scrutiny and fundamental rights compliance.

Partners

Stay connected

email update imageEmail updates system

You can follow anyone or anything linked to the Parliament using the email updates system, which sends updates directly to your mailbox. This includes the latest news about MEPs, committees, the news services or the Think Tank.

You can access the system from any page on the Parliament website. To sign up and receive notifications on Think Tank, simply submit your email address, select the subject you are interested in, indicate how often you want to be informed (daily, weekly or monthly) and confirm the registration by clicking on the link that will be emailed to you.

RSS imageRSS feeds

Follow all news and updates from the European Parliament website by making use of our RSS feed.

Please click on the link below to configure your RSS feed.