Global Issues: Austria & Czech Republic/Case Reports/EFRA
The European Fundamental Rights Agency was formed so that fundamemental rights for those residing in the European Union would become a reality. The Agency achieves this by completing three task. Those task are collecting and analyzing objective reliable comparable data on a variety of fundamental rights issues, by networking with partner organizations to ensure that that the research that is carried out by the FRA is relevant to the needs, and finally by communicating its evidence based advice to partner organizations to and the general public thereby raising awareness of fundamental rights.
The Agency has a management board that consists of people with appropriate past experience in the management of public or private sector organization in the field of human and fundamental rights. These members consist of one independent person appointed by each of the 27 Member States. Also included is one independent person appointed by the Council of Europe and also two representatives of the Commission.
The FRA receives its funding by European Union funds which it receives each year from the European Union budgetary authority such as the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (representatives of the 27 Member State governments). The director of the FRA must present the rationale about how the organization implemented its budget to the European Parliament upon request of the EU. The FRA must also present its annual report to the European Parliament along with an Annual Activity Report. The Agency's budget for 2010 was approximately 20 million euros.
History and timeline
The European Fundamental Rights Agency was formed so that fundamental rights for everyone living in European Union would become a reality. This organization began in March 2007. This organization had its roots in another human rights organization called European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The EUMC was established in Vienna as a separate entity. The EUMC activities started in 1998. The preceding organization ceased to exist on 28 February 2007.
On the basis of the data that was collected, the EUMC closely look at the extremity and development of the phenomena and manifestations of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other behavior related to that kind. The EUMC analyzed the causes and also the effects. The organization was also tasked to develop strategies to combat racism and to showcase examples of good practices specifically related the assistance by organizations in integration of migrants and ethnic and religious minority groups in the EU Member States.
The EUMC developed the European Information Network on Racism and Xenophobia (RAXEN) to collect data an monitor racial occurrences within the EU. This was accomplished by an organization called National Focal Points. This organization was retained by the EUMC to collect, review and disseminate information in each of the EU Member States as it related to racism.
This organization is extremely significant because it affects many different areas with regard to fundametal rights. The EFRA is active in areas such as:
a) racism and related behavior
b) discrimination based on sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation and against persons belonging to minorities and any combination of these grounds (multiple discrimination);
c) compensation of for people who have been victimized.
d) the rights and protection of children;
e) asylum, immigration and integration of migrants;
f) visa and border control activities;
g) inclusion of the EU citizens in the Union's democratic processes;
h) information society and, respect for private life and protection of personal information; and
i) access to an impartial justice system.
All of the above-mentioned area are of concerns not only in Austria and CZECH Republic, but the entire European Union.
The Agency works to support an environment in which human rights promotion and protection at all levels of society and governance will become a natural reflex activity. Engaging with the Agency's stakeholders, the wider human rights community, those at the national and local level responsible for providing services and those supporting people who make use of the services is seen as an essential part of supporting this development. This lies at the heart of the Agency's external relations and networking strategy.