The European Commission has launched a public consultation exercise on plans to create a European Union (EU) watchdog ensuring that all significant legal rights available to EU citizens are respected. This Fundamental Rights Agency would replace the Vienna-based EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and
Xenophobia, taking over its existing mandate. EU heads of governments have already approved the idea in principle, but decisions need to be made on the work the agency would carry out. Brussels wants to ask legal experts about its possible powers – whether it should be a purely advisory body, an investigative unit or take action on behalf of citizens whose rights have been abused. The Commission has also published a set of questions about the issue. One query is whether the agency should confine itself to issues covered by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the (European) Union. It also wants views on how the agency can
work with bodies such as organisations in the legal profession.
The Commission will make a formal proposal to create the agency next year.
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