EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Human rights


The European Union (EU) is built on fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Indeed, according to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union: ‘The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.’

These values are closely linked and guide the EU’s internal and external action.

EU action in this area is based on the EU treaties and on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which has the same value as the treaties. The Charter enshrines the fundamental rights people enjoy in the EU. It is a modern and comprehensive instrument protecting and promoting people’s rights and freedoms in the light of changes in society, social progress and scientific and technological developments.

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