A Europe of rights
History of the EU Charter
The European Union is a fascinating project for peace, progress, democracy and freedom, with the protection and promotion of human rights at its very heart. The European Union has achieved significant progress in the defense of, and respect for, fundamental rights over the past fifty years. The drafting and adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights marked an important milestone in the European Union’s history and an important development for its constitutional legitimacy. The Charter, solemnly proclaimed by the Presidents of the Parliament, Commission and Council in Nice on 7 December 2000..., became legally binding in December 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty came into force. It is the first EU «Bill of Rights» and one of the most modern and up-to-date codifications of all values, including civil, political, economic and social rights. It constitutes a formidable tool in bringing the European Union closer to its people and creating a citizens’ Europe. Today, the protection of fundamental rights is more important than ever, even if this issue is far from being a recent phenomenon. In this long process, the European Parliament, as the only directly elected EU Institution, has always played a central role in defending and promoting the fundamental democratic values of the European Union. As early as 1977, the European Parliament issued a Declaration of political principle on the definition of fundamental rights. Since then, it has repeatedly adopted resolutions and remained on the front line in the fight for the respect of human rights. Back in February 1984, the European Parliament adopted a draft Treaty establishing the European Union, in which its rapporteur, the celebrated Italian MEP Altiero Spinelli, had for the first time spoken of human rights in the context of a European constitution. Subsequent developments vindicated this ambition. With this comprehensive study, ‘A Europe of rights: history of the EU Charter’, published exactly five years after the Charter was proclaimed, readers will discover the milestones along this long road and will better understand the crucial role played by the European Parliament as a defender of its citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.
- Corporate author(s): Directorate-General for the Presidency Themes: Fundamental rights
- Subject: anti-discriminatory measure, charter on human rights, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, European citizenship, human rights, rights of the individual