The Role of Judicial and Non-Judicial Actors
Edited by Lorenza Violini and Antonia Baraggia
Chapter 7: The Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU: A step on the way toward an integrated EU policy in the domain of fundamental rights
The discussion on fundamental rights in the EU has very deep roots that sprouted almost at the same time as the European integration. The story is long but still needs to be further explored, especially if one aims to focus not on the main actors performing on the European “stage” but on some more hidden and underexplored bodies. Among the many actors who have played and still play a significant role in the drama, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) can be considered a background actor, the main characters of which are the Parliament, the Commission and – above all – the Court of Justice. After a short overview over the pre-history of the FRA, the present essay deals first with the difference between negative and positive integration and its consequences. It then addresses the (late) establishment of the FRA and its difficulties as evidence of the problematic situation of fundamental rights in the EU. After a survey of the activities put forward by the Agency in its ten years of life, the essay closes with some remarks on the influence this apparently second level actor has played in the very complex and busy scene of fundamental rights protection within the EU institutional landscape.
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