Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Fundamental rights monitoring: European Parliament

From modest beginnings to a better future has been the history of the Assembly. Today the European Parliament is directly elected by EU citizens and a real co-legislator in many areas of European Community law.

Since the European Parliament represents us Europeans, it is only natural that it shows concern for our fundamental rights.

One example of this primary task is the European Parliament resolution of 15 March 2007 on compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Commission’s legislative proposals. The resolution was based on a report by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (rapporteur: Johannes Voggenhuber; Green, Austria).

The EP notes that a genuine “fundamental rights culture” should include the Council and decisions in the field of intergovernmental cooperation.

The EP wants to establish the Charter of Fundamental Rights as legally binding.

The EP calls on the Commission to create a specific category entitled ‘Effects on fundamental rights’ in its impact assessments and it calls on the Commission to make more extensive use of independent external human rights bodies.

The EP contemplates the possibility to amend its own procedures to make its own monitoring more effective.

The Parliament calls on the Council to strengthen the systematic monitoring of fundamental rights also in areas covered by intergovernmental cooperation, to publish the results and likewise to secure the support of the Fundamental Rights Agency.

The European Parliament requests Member State parliaments, in particular in the fields of police and judicial cooperation and the common foreign and security policy, to verify the compatibility of all decisions and measures with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The European Parliament’s and the individual citizen’s viewpoint are more or less the same: more transparency, better protection of individuals’ rights and, especially, shedding light on the murkier corners of intergovernmental cooperation, which remain outside the scope of parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review.

Ralf Grahn