Thursday

30th Jun 2022

2015 was 'a bad year' for EU human rights

  • There's a crisis of values in Europe, FRA director O'Flaherty said (Photo: Vadim Ghirda)

The EU fundamental rights agency (FRA) in Vienna warned of deteriorating fundamental rights in the EU on Monday (30 May).

"2015 was a undoubtedly a bad year," said FRA director Michael O’Flaherty when presenting the agency's annual report to members of the European Parliament's civic liberties committee (Libe).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The worsening outlook is largely linked to Europe's management of the global refugee crisis.

"It's a crisis of values and fundamental rights," O'Flaherty said.

The FRA is particularly worried over an increasing number of people who were allegedly pushed back at EU borders. Refoulement is a breach of the human right to apply for asylum.

Noting that an average of two children die every day trying to reach safe haven in Europe, he urged MEPs to protect the rights of refugee children.

"We need to integrate child protection mechanism into migration and asylum processes and do a quicker job of appointing guards for unaccompanied children," O'Flahery said.

He added that member states must become better at prosecuting hate speech, a scourge that increased substantially in the course of last year.

Finally, he noted growing problems in the field of data protection.

"We have found that many states engage in mass surveillance but only five have a legal framework to do it in", he said.

The FRA director invited MEPs to give rights a higher order of importance in their work.

"For example, let's see an intention to [protect] fundamental rights more explicitly in discussion of the European semester," O'Flaherty said, referring to the EU mechanism that monitors and coordinates member states' economic and fiscal policies.

Child trafficking in EU on the rise

Around 67 percent of all registered victims of human trafficking in the EU are exploited for sex, 21 percent for labour, and the remaining 12 percent for things like forced begging or organ removal.

Human smuggling to EU worth €5bn a year

Up to 40,000 suspects involved in "multinational business", Europol and Interpol said. Migrants "increasingly" targeted for labour and sexual exploitation.

MEPs fast-track EU border guard plan

EU parliament gives thumbs up to controversial plan for new border guard force that can be deployed to EU states even if they do not want it. Force could be operational by autumn.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit
  2. Russia urges Nato not to build bases in Sweden, Finland
  3. New president for European Committee of the Regions
  4. Gas flows from Spain to Morocco, after Western Sahara row
  5. BioNTech, Pfizer test 'universal' coronavirus vaccine
  6. UK sanctions second-richest Russian businessman
  7. Hungary permits emergency supervision of energy firms
  8. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  3. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  5. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers

Latest News

  1. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  2. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike
  3. EU's post-Covid billions flowing into black hole
  4. Nato expands and reinforces on Russian flank
  5. EU Commission says it cannot find messages with Pfizer CEO
  6. EU ministers sign off on climate laws amid German infighting
  7. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  8. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us