Council Approves Its General Approach on The Fundamental Rights Agency



On 7 June 2021, the Council approved a general approach on the regulation amending the regulation establishing the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. This text aims to enhance the agency's mandate and improve its functioning through more efficient procedures.


The compromise text includes in the remit of the agency the area of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, to align its mandate with the Lisbon treaty. It would maintain the current situation as regards the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which would remain outside the agency's remit. Finally, the current multiannual framework to define the work programme of the agency will be replaced with a more operational annual and multiannual programming.


In order to ensure a smooth communication between the Agency and the Member States, the Agency and the national liason officers should work together in a spirit of mutual and close cooperation. This cooperation should be without prejudice to the Agency’s independence.


Next steps


The proposed text is a Council regulation based on Article 352 TFEU, which requires unanimity for adoption by the Council. In accordance to this special legislative procedure the adoption by the Council can only take place once the European Parliament has given its consent to the text.


Background


The mandate of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights is set out in a 2007 Council regulation. In June 2020 the Commission presented a proposal to adapt the mandate of the agency to the Lisbon Treaty and to bring the regulation in line with the common approach on decentralised agencies.


The objective of the Commission's proposal was twofold: to align certain provisions of the Agency’s founding Regulation with the Common Approach on decentralised agencies of 19 July 2012 and to amend the Agency’s scope of activities in view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) emphasizes that the purpose is for the Agency, carrying out its tasks in full independence, to draw from discussions or opinions on such draft programming document impulses to design the most relevant work programme to support the Union and its Member States by providing assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights.