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The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union


This website contains the complete text of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, as signed and proclaimed by the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission at the European Council meeting in Nice on 7 December 2000.

This Charter is the end-result of a special procedure, which is without precedent in the history of the European Union and may be summarised as follows:

  • the Cologne European Council (3-4 June 1999) entrusted the task of drafting the Charter to a Convention,
  • the Convention held its constituent meeting in December 1999 (see annex for its composition) and adopted the draft on 2 October 2000,
  • the Biarritz European Council (13-14 October 2000) unanimously approved the draft and forwarded it to the European Parliament and the Commission,
  • the European Parliament gave its agreement on 14 November 2000 and the Commission on 6 December 2000,
  • the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission signed and proclaimed the Charter on behalf of their institutions on 7 December 2000 in Nice.

The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out in a single text, for the first time in the European Union's history, the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU.

These rights are divided into six sections:

  • Dignity
  • Freedoms
  • Equality
  • Solidarity
  • Citizens' rights
  • Justice

They are based, in particular, on the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised by the European Convention on Human Rights, the constitutional traditions of the EU Member States, the Council of Europe's Social Charter, the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers and other international conventions to which the European Union or its Member States are parties.

The issue of the Charter's legal status - i.e. whether to make it legally binding by incorporating it into the TEU - was raised by the Cologne European Council, which originally launched the Charter initiative. The Convention drew up the draft Charter with a view to its possible incorporation, and the European Parliament voted in favour of incorporation. The Nice European Council (see Annex I to the Presidency conclusions) decided to consider the question of the Charter's legal status during the general debate on the future of the European Union, which was initiated on 1 January 2001.

Statements by the Presidents of the European Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Mr Jacques Chirac, President of the European Council

'In Nice, we proclaimed the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, a text which is of major political importance. Its full significance will become apparent in the future and I wish to pay tribute to your Assembly for the major contribution it has made to its drafting'.

(Strasbourg, 12 December 2000)

Mrs Nicole Fontaine, President of the European Parliament

'A signature represents a commitment (...). I trust that all the citizens of the Union will understand that from now on (...)the Charter will be the law guiding the actions of the Assembly (...). From now on it will be the point of reference for all the Parliament acts which have a direct or indirect bearing on the lives of citizens throughout the Union.'

(Nice, 7 December 2000)

Mr Romano Prodi, President of the Commission

'In the eyes of the European Commission, by proclaiming the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Union institutions have committed themselves to respecting the Charter in everything they do and in every policy they promote (...). The citizens of Europe can rely on the Commission to ensure that the Charter will be respected (...)'.

(Nice, 7 December 2000)


Some Links

Amnesty International (AI)
ATD Quart Monde
(ATD Fourth World Movement)
Site in: EN and FR
Campagne pour une Constitution Européenne Site in: DE - EN - FR - IT
ETWelfare site in: DE - EN - FR
Euronet - European Children's network Site in: EN - FR
European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Site in: EN and FR
European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)
European Landowners' organisation
European Women's Lobby Site in: EN and FR
Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)
(Protestant Church in Germany)
Site in: DE and EN
FIDH - International Federation of Human Rights Leagues Site in: EN - ES - FR
ILGA International Lesbian and Gay Association - European Region
Junge Europäische Föderalisten Deutschland e. V.
JEF - Young European Federalists (German section)
Kampagne für eine Europäische Verfassung (Campaign for a European Constitution)
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Site in: DE - ES - EN
Movimento Federalista Europeo site in: IT
Plate-forme des ONG du secteur social Site in: EN and FR
Rat der Gemeinden und Regionen Europas - Deutsche Sektion
SOLIDAR Site in: EN - DE - ES - FR - IT
Women's Human Rights Net Site in: EN - ES - FR