The Fundamental Rights Agency and Civil Society: Reminding the gardeners of their plants’ roots

Morten Kjaerum, Gabriel Toggenburg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the EU body
    responsible for advising EU institutions on fundamental rights, is equipped with a Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) to ensure an on-going and structured
    exchange of information and feedback between the FRA and Civil Society. When
    the FRA was founded in 2007, there was little pre-existing knowledge on how to
    design such a Platform; hence, the development of the relationship between the
    FRA and Civil Society over the first five years proved an interesting experiment.
    Although the Platform was never intended as a mechanism of democratic codecision making, it is far more than a loose marketplace where Civil Society
    actors across the spectrum of fundamental rights themes gather. The Platform
    offers channels of consultation and exchange not only among the participants but also with the FRA. It allows for cross-pollination, ensuring informed grassroots input into FRA work and FRA expertise flow to Civil Society actors. This synergetic relationship builds upon both the self-organising forces of Civil Society and the terms of references of the FRP as defined by the FRA. The Platform allows to find a certain unity in the remarkable diversity of fundamental rights voices. To what degree, however, the Platform’s dynamics allow the
    transformation of sometimes ‘compartmentalised’ single human rights discussions into wider trans-sectoral and transnational debates within the Human Rights Community depends on the motivation and the interest(s) of the different Civil Society players.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages20
    JournalEuropean Diversity and Autonomy Papers
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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