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Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union



Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union


The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the charter) protects the fundamental rights people enjoy in the European Union (EU). It is a modern and comprehensive instrument of EU law, protecting and promoting people’s rights and freedoms in view of changes in society, social progress, and scientific and technological developments.



The charter reaffirms – with due regard to the EU’s powers and tasks and to the principle of subsidiarity – the rights established based on the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to EU Member States, which include the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the social charters adopted by the EU and by the Council of Europe, and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the European Court of Human Rights. By making fundamental rights clearer and more visible, it creates legal certainty within the EU.

The charter contains a preamble and 54 articles, grouped into seven chapters.


The charter applies to EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies in all their actions. It does not extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the treaties. The charter also applies to Member States when they are implementing EU law.

The charter applies in conjunction with national and international fundamental rights protection systems, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

Annual reports

Every year since 2010, the European Commission publishes an annual report that monitors the progress of the application of the charter. Since 2021, following the strategy to strengthen the application of the charter in the EU (see summary), the charter report focuses every year on a different thematic area of strategic relevance governed by EU law.


  • In 1999, the European Council concluded that the fundamental rights applicable at EU level should be consolidated in a charter to give them greater visibility.
  • The charter was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the Commission.
  • The charter became legally binding with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (see summary) in December 2009, and now has the same legal value as the EU treaties.

For further information, see:


Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 389–405).

last update 14.01.2022