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Charter of Fundamental Rights



EU Charter of Fundamental Rights


It enshrines in European Union (EU) law a range of personal, civil, political, economic and social rights of EU citizens and residents.



The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) reaffirms, with due regard for the EU’s powers and tasks and for the principle of subsidiarity, the rights as they result, in particular, from the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to EU countries, 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 of Fundamental Rights contains a preamble and 54 articles, grouped in 7 chapters:

  • chapter I: dignity (human dignity, the right to life, the right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labour);
  • chapter II: freedoms (the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to education, freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, freedom to conduct a business, the right to property, the right to asylum, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition);
  • chapter III: equality (equality before the law, non-discrimination, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, the rights of the child, the rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities);
  • chapter IV: solidarity (workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking, the right of collective bargaining and action, the right of access to placement services, protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work, family and professional life, social security and social assistance, health care, access to services of general economic interest, environmental protection, consumer protection);
  • chapter V: citizens’ rights (the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections, the right to good administration, the right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, the right to petition, freedom of movement and residence, diplomatic and consular protection);
  • chapter VI: justice (the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial, presumption of innocence and the right of defence, principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence);
  • chapter VII: general provisions.


The charter applies to the European institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and may under no circumstances extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the treaties. The charter also applies to EU countries when they implement EU law.

If any of the rights correspond to rights guaranteed by the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the meaning and scope of those rights is to be the same as defined by the convention, though EU law may provide for more extensive protection.

Annual reports

Every year since 2010, the European Commission publishes an annual report. This monitors progress on the application of the charter.


  • 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 and the Commission.
  • The Charter became legally binding on the EU with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in December 2009 and now has the same legal value as the EU treaties.

For more information, see:


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


Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: 2015 Report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (COM(2016) 265 final, 18.5.2016)

last update 17.10.2016