Fundamental rights agency
The European Union Agency for Fundamental rights (Fundamental Rights Agency – FRA) was established on 1 March 2007 as the legal successor of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The decision to form the FRA was taken at a European Council meeting on 13 December 2003, and was based on the intention to both build upon and extend the existing mandate of the EUMC. The legal basis for the establishment of the FRA is in Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007. In its first year, the FRA’s activities were transitional, with the aim of it being fully operational in 2008.
The aims of the FRA are to provide assistance and expertise to the European Union and its Member States when they are implementing Community law on fundamental rights matters. Its prime objective is to provide objective, reliable and comparable data at the European level on the phenomena of racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism, in order to help the EU and Member States to take measures or formulate courses of action within their respective spheres of competence. The FRA is required to present an annual activity report to the European Parliament, documenting its activities and achievements in the year. Although the FRA is not empowered to deal with individual complaints, it can refer people to organisations in each Member State where they can go to for advice, help and support in legal matters.
The FRA has also taken over responsibility for the RAXEN network, a network of experts in each Member State which provides relevant data and information on racism and discrimination and on the progress made by the EU and by Member States on initiatives to combat these phenomena. These data are then presented as an EU-wide report.
The agency has set out in its work programme the following operational priorities:
- Raxen and data collection
- Research and surveys
- Communication and cooperation activities