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Incorporating fundamental rights into EU legislative process

  Strategy and proposals for embedding fundamental rights in EU law.


In 2010, the European Commission adopted a strategy to monitor and ensure the effective implementation of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter. The strategy has 3 main objectives:

  • to guarantee that the rights and principles enshrined in the Charter are correctly taken into account at every step of the EU legislative process
  • to improve people’s understanding of fundamental rights protection within the EU
  • to monitor the Charter's application through annual reports

Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union

In 2020, the European Commission presented a new Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU. To ensure that the Charter becomes a reality for all, the strategy sets out the direction of the Charter implementation for the next 10 years.

Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU

New legislative proposals

All proposals for EU legislation must respect the Charter. The Commission therefore reinforced its assessment of the impact of new legislative proposals on fundamental rights. In particular, the European Commission adopted a set of guidelines on fundamental rights in impact assessments.

Operational guidance on taking account of fundamental rights in European Commission impact assessments.

As of 2015, the new better regulation package also includes a specific check list for impact assessments.

The European Commission uses this checklist to identify which fundamental rights could be affected by a proposal and systematically assesses the impact of each envisaged policy option on these rights.

During the legislative process, the European Commission works with co-legislators to ensure that EU law is in line with the Charter.

Fundamental Rights check list


The EU funded Ch@rter Click! project has created a practical toolkit, a checklist and tutorial, aimed to assist victims of fundamental rights violations, lawyers, national judges, ombudspersons, equality bodies and other national human rights institutions in determining whether the Charter of Fundamental Rights of European Union can provide protection in a specific case.

The Ch@rter Click! project

Ch@rter Click! - checklist

Ch@rter Click!- tutorial

The charter and national law

The Charter does not establish a general power for the European Commission to intervene in the area of fundamental rights. It can intervene only when EU law comes into play (for example, when EU legislation is adopted or when a national measure applies EU law in a manner incompatible with the Charter).

EU countries have their own systems for protecting fundamental rights through national constitutions and courts. They also have to respect their international human rights obligations, such as the European Convention of Human Rights. The Charter is not a replacement for them. Therefore, it is up to the national courts to ensure respect for fundamental rights.