European Parliament’s rapporteur on fundamental rights calls for a new mechanism tackling the ‘Copenhagen dilemma’

Rapporteur Louis Michel (BE/ALDE) has presented his draft report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union (2012) to the LIBE Committee. The report is structured differently than previous years, instead it is built on the outlines of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights looking at the themes of; Diginity, Liberty, Equality, Citizenship and Justice. It enables a more comprehensive and horizontal approach to the issues that previously were segmented into different grounds of discrimination. Social Platform's call for an explicit reference to the link between access to ones social rights in order to be able to enjoy ones fundamental rights has not been made, but it is positive that the issue of poverty has been mentioned under 'Solidarity', stressing that:

  • 'the financial and economic crisis and the measures taken to tackle it have a had a greater impact on the poorest and most deprived sections of the population, in some cases affecting them very seriously, and calls for particular attention and appropriate, more incisive measures to remedy this situation'

Additionally the report includes an part on 'Institutional questions' presenting a proposal for a new mechanism to tackle the 'Copenhagen dilemma' (i.e. EU's lack of power safeguard member states respect of fundamental rights after accession). The proposal refers to Treaty Article 2 and 7(1) and calls for amending the Treaty if so needed, it includes:

  • set up indicators
  • monitor the situation in the EU
  • carry out objective and comparative assessments
  • establish a European policy cycle to provide an annual and multiannual framework and an open annual interinstitutional forum
  • develop and adopt a set of recommendations and penalities, incorporate an early-warning system, political and technical dialogue, letters of formal notice and a 'freezing procedures'

In the report by MEP Tavares (PT/Greens) report (adopted July 3, 2013) on the Situation of fundamental rights: standards and practices in Hungary the Parliament also calls on the Commission as the guardian of the Treaties and as the body responsible for ensuring that Union law is correctly applied, under the supervision of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The timeline for the report by MEP Michel is foreseen as following: A hearing in the European Parliament on November 5, deadline for amendments November 14, vote in the LIBE Committee on 16-17 December and vote in plenary in February 2014.


Read the full report