Authors: Boguslawa Bednarczyk
Simultaneously with the entry into force of the EU Lisbon Treaty on December 1, 2009, many of the alleged weaknesses of the mechanisms of protection of fundamental rights are in the process of being addressed: the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union has acquired binding force; the European Union is due to accede to the European Convention of Human Rights and the Fundamental Rights Agency was established as a European Union body in charge of monitoring the correct implementation of fundamental Rights throughout the Union. When the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU became legally binding in 2009, the Fundamental Rights Agency was the first EU body with competence stretching across the whole Charter. FRA was tasked to provide the EU institutions and Members States with “assistance and expertise”, particularly through the collection of “objective, reliable on comparable information on the development of the situation of fundamental rights”. This paper will focus on a single aspect – what impact the EU enlargement had on human rights through its special agencies. For this purpose, we will take a close look at the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. We will address the issue concerning the role being played by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency as an advisory body, issuing opinions on various aspects of fundamental rights within the Union on EU’s and Member States’ requests. The 10th anniversary of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome seems to be a good moment to look back at what the Agency has done with an objective and critical eye, and identify areas where it should do more and better respond to the challenges, it faces.
Keywords: Fundamental Rights Agency, human rights, human rights protection, violence against women, EU’ internal legal system, civil society, nongovernmental organizations