The ECRE Policy Note: “Chartering a way to protection – The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – An indispensable instrument in the field of Asylum,” offers an overview of how the EU Charter can be used to further the rights of those in need of protection.

The note analyses the reach the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The EU Charter is designed to consolidate all fundamental rights that are applicable at the EU level into a single text. It includes all the fundamental rights protected in the Union, and through the explanations, provides guidance on their scope, ultimately making them visible and predictable.

Although the EU Charter has been a legally binding instrument since December 2009, its use to date has been limited. Given its importance in ensuring that fundamental rights are upheld, ECRE recommends awareness raising and training activities on its use and scope. Furthermore, the EU Charter plays an indispensable role in ensuring that laws are drafted in a manner that complies with fundamental rights. The EU Charter is not an abstract set of values; it is an instrument to enable people to enjoy the rights enshrined within it and the Commission must uphold its role in ensuring that any legislation proposed or passed is in compliance.

EU agencies such as Frontex, Europol and EASO are also bound by its remit; they must ensure that any action undertaken is in compliance with the EU Charter when implementing EU law. With the increase of powers being vested in EU Agencies, ECRE recommends that a specific mechanism is required to ensure that any violation of fundamental rights can be reported and that an effective remedy is available.Therefore, sufficient resources should be put in place to ensure respect of fundamental rights in all Agencies activities. Furthermore, an individual complaints mechanism should be available within each EU Agencies as well as the independent Fundamental Rights Officer with resources commensurate to the size and tasks of the Agency