The EU's commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, Viviane Reding, reassured her staff that the European Commission will remain in the driving seat in communicating Europe but not without citizens, sources told EURACTIV after an in-house presentation on Friday (12 February).
Reinforcing citizens' rights will be a top priority in the coming years, said Viviane Reding, the EU's commissioner-designate for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, at a parliamentary hearing yesterday (12 January), voicing her opposition to body scanners at airports.
The European Parliament has reminded Commission President José Manuel Barroso of his commitment to put forward a directive outlawing discrimination on a whole range of grounds, including disability, age, religion or belief and sexual orientation, as Brussels finalises preparations for a social policy package to be presented in June.
The Commission, Parliament and Council presidents on Wednesday (12 December) solemnly proclaimed The Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European assembly in Strasbourg, amid shouts from Eurosceptic MEPs.
For the first time, the European Communities have signed a human-rights charter, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But, in a last-minute move, the Commission refrained from signing an additional Protocol establishing a complaints procedure, which some member states consider too far-reaching.
The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), focusing primarily on the areas of racism and discrimination and formally opened on 1 March 2007 in Vienna, has been criticised as being "a superfluous institution with a limited mandate".
The Commission has launched its first comprehensive strategy to strengthen the protection of children, both within and outside the union, against neglect, paedophilia, trafficking, sex tourism, and forced labour.
Commissioner Frattini supports the Council of Europe's (CoE) appeal to its member states to better respect the fundamental rights of suspects and control secret services in the fight against terrorism.
The first annual report by the EU's independent expert group on fundamental rights highlights the often unsatisfactory conditions in EU prisons and warns that counter-terror measures must not lead to discrimination.
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