Analysing the findings of the research of the other work packages on policy tools

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Podstawa, Karolina
Haász, Veronika
Vita, Viorica
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The purpose of this FRAME Report is to map the EU internal fundamental and external human rights toolbox on the basis of the findings of other FRAME reports. This task involved answering two research questions. The first one is about identifying the categories according to which the tools need to be presented. The second question is about describing the concrete tools which compose the toolbox. The question of categories was addressed on the basis on past and current FRAME research. This report considers the categories identified by previous FRAME reports which seemed to be useful as organising principles for the presentation of the toolbox. The following categories were identified by other FRAME reports and briefly described in this report: - internal v. external policy tools; - paradigmatic instruments; - soft v. hard law tools; - tools displaying soft and hard power; - tools that serve conceptualisation, operationalisation, and evaluation of policies. It became clear from the outset that the first distinction was so radical in EU policies that it had to underpin any further categorization. Yet beyond this initial distinction, the remaining categories identifying by FRAME reports did not allow to identify a systematic sorting key which would allow to make sense of the toolbox. This report therefore adopts an approach which, while taking into account the above categories, reorganizes them by focusing rather on the functions of specific categories of tools. Addressing the second research question involved discussing each concrete tool in every category. Discussion focused on (1) the general positioning of each tool within the EU legal system, (2) human- or fundamental rights specific considerations regarding each tool and (3) challenges that have been pointed to in other FRAME deliverables in relation to each tool. The findings that emerge from the mapping of EU fundamental and human rights tools are the following: The European Union has at its disposal a wide range of instruments that can be used to reach EU internal fundamental rights and external human rights objectives. The freedom of the EU to adopt specific measures is limited by the exigencies of the EU and international legal systems on the one hand and political will on the other. Yet, in the current state of affairs – possibly with the exception of monitoring and evaluation tools – everything seems to be in place. This raises the question of how to ensure coherence among all the tools in the whole policy field, but also whether and to what extent tools can push the boundaries of the legal system. A question which this report was not able to answer relates to the effectiveness of policy instruments. On the one hand, the generalized lack of monitoring mechanisms makes it difficult to understand whether a specific instrument had a positive impact on human rights. It was also difficult to assess what in a given context would amount to effective implementation. Finally, the net results of the interaction or parallel functioning of instruments remain difficult to evaluate. The report closes with the identification of a number of points which should be taken into consideration for the purposes of the future reports to be produced within the WP 14.
European Union, policy, policy tool, policy toolbox, human rights, internal policy, external policy