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EuropeFundamental rights report finds threats to key freedoms, equality and dignity

Fundamental rights report finds threats to key freedoms, equality and dignity

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MEPs looked into the state of citizens’ rights in the EU in 2022 and 2023, identifying an array of concerns about fin fundamental rights in all member states.

The report on the state of fundamental rights in the EU was approved with 391 votes in favour, 130 against, and 20 abstentions.

MEPs call for justice for the killing of journalists and welcome the agreement on the media freedom act. They reiterate their concern over the use of spyware, highlighting the need to regulate the industry strictly and calling on EU countries, in particular Greece, Hungary, Poland, Spain, and Cyprus, to follow Parliament’s recommendations on this front.

Backsliding on women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights

The text recalls that gender-based violence is highly prevalent in all EU countries and strongly condemns the rapid backsliding on women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights in several member states, including the denial of access to safe and legal abortion in Poland.

In the case of Hungary, Parliament calls on the European Council to determine whether Hungary has committed serious and persistent breaches of EU values under Article 7(2) TEU, and strongly deplores the systematic scapegoating of the LGBTQI+ community by the authorities. Parliament once again calls for the negotiations on a directive to combat violence against women and domestic violence to be concluded swiftly and for gender-based violence to be included in the list of EU crimes.

Increasing level of corruption

Parliament expresses deep concern over the increasing level of corruption in several EU countries and reiterates its condemnation of alleged incidents involving high-level officials and politicians, including current and former MEPs. The EU anti-corruption framework and the Whistleblower Protection Directive must be fully implemented in the member states, and an independent ethics body is needed at EU level, MEPs point out. Parliament also speaks against government attempts to influence judicial independence and calls for effective checks and balances.

Other areas of concern include:

  • threats to freedoms of association, speech and assembly, including police violence and mass arrests;
  • disinformation and the need to ensure artistic freedom;
  • religion-based and racist incidents and that not all member states have fully transposed the framework decision on racism and xenophobia;
  • police violence against Romani persons;
  • widespread fundamental rights violations against migrants and refugees, and the codification of pushbacks into national law;
  • children’s right to equal recognition of parenthood across the EU;
  • the risk of biases built into new technologies, including AI;
  • social, economic, and environmental rights (e.g. poverty and social exclusion, digital poverty); and
  • improving institutional safeguards (including establishing the Fundamental Rights Agency as an independent human rights authority).

Quote

Rapporteur Katarina Barley (S&D, Germany) commented: “Fundamental rights violations are widespread in EU member states. Times of crises are like a litmus test in this regard, as the respect for fundamental rights cannot depend on favourable economic and societal conditions. They are not optional; they are the essence of our societies and a core founding value of the EU.”

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