On February 28, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (commonly known as FRA) celebrates its 10th anniversary by holding a symposium.
The FRA was established by Council Regulation No 168/2007 in 2007. The Agency assists EU institutions and EU member states by providing them with independent expert advice and fundamental rights analysis.
The FRA and the Ludwig Boltzmann of Human Rights (BIM) enjoy a close cooperation almost from the beginning. Since 2008 experts from the BIM contribute to the work of the Agency. Legal experts of the BIM are part of the Fundamental Rights Agency Network of Legal Experts (FRALEX). They have authored the national studies on homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation; on child trafficking in Austria, an international comparative study on national human rights institutions and three bulletins and a report on the situation of the Agencys thematic focus areas in Austria.
In 2012 the BIM was commissioned with the development of a Handbook on European Data Protection Law. The handbook was launched by the FRA in collaboration with the Council of Europe in 2014. It is currently in its second edition and has been published in 22 languages.
Before the foundation of the modern FRA, the BIM was collecting information on racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism in Austria for the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the FRA predecessor organisation. Together with the Research Center: Discourse, Politics, Identity, the Institute of Conflict Research and the NGO ZARA on Civil Courage and Anti-Racism, the BIM formed the Austrian National Focal Point in the Racism and Xenophobia Network (RAXEN) writing two comprehensive studies on access to information and effective legal remedy for asylum-seekers and on racism and other forms of sedition in the European Union.
Ever since the foundation of FRA, the BIM has been represented in the Agency’s Management Board and Executive Board. From 2007 to 2012 Hannes Tretter was the Austrian Independent Member and Vice-Chairperson of the Management Board and Member of the Executive Board. In summer 2014 he was succeeded by Manfred Nowak. Under this assignment and with the support of the Austria Office of the Federal Chancellor, the BIM hosts FRA-Roundtables on a regular basis, informing the Austrian parliament, government, justice, the academic community and civil society about the activities of the FRA.
Last summer the BIM also contributed substantially to the first FRA-Forum, a platform of debate between different actors in politics, academia and civil society.
The BIM congratulates the Fundamental Rights Agency on its 10th anniversary and its significant work in the field of human rights and is looking forward to a continued close and fruitful cooperation.
Update: The FRA 10 years anniversary symposium video-stream is available here.