Thursday, 31 March 2011

EUCFR one year on


Having rights is one thing, enforcing them may be quite another. Today, the European Commission presented its first Annual report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which maps the Charter's application following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. The staff working document that accompanies the report gives a relatively elaborate overview of the specific policy areas in which the Charter has so far played a role.

As far as consumer protection is concerned, the Commission highlights the work on the Consumer Rights Directive and the modernisation of the Package Travel Directive (p. 40 of the staff working document). The report and working document, however, also contain references to several other topics that are of relevance for consumers and have been discussed on this blog earlier, such as: data protection, online behavioural advertising, children's rights and access to justice.

Among the facts and figures, furthermore, data can be found concerning the amount of questions the Commission received from the general public on fundamental rights protection. One that stands out is the considerable number of letters about matters that did
not fall within the scope of EU law and were therefore not covered by the Charter (69% of approximately 4,000 letters). A first action point, thus, is to better inform citizens when they can rely on the Charter and where they have to turn to see their fundamental rights enforced. With its report, the Commission aspires to take a first step in that direction. Recommended reading, therefore.

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