10 October 2008
On 7-8 October 2008 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) held the first meeting of its Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) in Vienna.
Representatives from about 100 NGOs and other Fundamental Rights Organisations – EDRi amongst them – were invited to discuss and make suggestions on potential strategic objectives of the Agency and for priorities for the FRA Work Program 2009 and 2010.
The Fundamental Rights Platform is part of FRAs newly defined structure and focus. With a Council Regulation of February 2007 the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) got an increased thematic area of operation and was renamed to European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
By a Council Decision of February 2008 a Multi-annual Framework for the work of FRA in the years 2007-2012 was established, which served as a basis for the discussions of the platform on the strategic direction and thematic priorities of the Agency.
The discussions of the FRP were organised in four working groups. The rapporteurs of these groups will create a common report, which will be presented to the FRA management board on 23 October 2008.
Amongst the main strategic objectives that were discussed in the working groups was, that FRA should work on increasing the visibility of Fundamental Rights issues, increase their recognition in the EU policy making process and that it should maintain its monitoring function and its role as a Fundamental Rights watchdog.
The thematic priorities of FRAs work in the coming years are predefined by the Multi-annual framework adopted by the European Council. While most participants agreed, that it should be avoided to create a kind of shopping list of most important Fundamental Rights issues, topics like data protection and privacy, children’s rights, rights of migrants and access to justice were expressed by participants to be important to be addressed by the Agency as well as by the members of the Fundamental Rights Platform.
Next steps to be taken by the FRP will be to define its organisational structures and mechanisms of representation. In November 2008 the FRA will begin to draft its 2010 work program. A consultation process on this will start at the beginning of 2009 and there will be a meeting of the FRP in 2009 as well, where the necessary decisions on the organisational and representative structures can be taken.
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Council Regulation establishing FRA
FRA Multi-annual framework
(contribution by Andreas Krisch – EDRi)Author : Bogdan