Coherence of human rights policymaking in EU institutions and other EU agencies and bodies

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Lewis, Tamara
Benedek, Wolfgang
Müller-Funk, Anna
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This report is submitted in connection with Work Package 8 of the FP7 FRAME (Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies) project. The report falls within Cluster Two, tasked to look at the actors in the European Union’s Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Human Rights Engagement. Work Package 8, entitled, ‘Coherence Among EU Institutions and Member States’. There is one main objective related to the first report; namely, to analyse the coherence of EU internal and external policies regarding fundamental and human rights across different policy fields such as commercial policy, migration and asylum, the area of freedom, security and justice and counterterrorism. The specific task for the report, as described in the project proposal, is to analyse the competences and responsibilities of EU institutions and bodies that initiate policies in fundamental and human rights in light of recent institutional developments brought on by the Lisbon Treaty. The focus of the task is on interactions between and the roles of the European Parliament, its subcommittee on human rights, the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the EU, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service and EU Delegations. In accordance with both the main objective and the specific task for this first report, this study begins with the premise that coherence is visible in three aspects of policy environments – organizational structures, policy regimes and interests - of the European Union (EU) to identify (in)coherence in current EU human rights policies among the EU Institutions. Beginning with the notion of competence, this report looks at how the EU institutions and agencies have viewed coherence in written and verbal discourse and then briefly sets forth how coherence is defined in other non-human rights contexts. Using those definitions and the views of coherence found in EU institutions as guidelines, a unique definition of coherence for EU human rights policy is created. This definition is the basis for the analysis of EU human rights policies and their (in)coherence in the final portion of the report. Regarding structures, this report examines the competence and responsibility of EU Institutions, agencies and bodies, as set forth in the treaties, regulations, rules of procedures and other key documents. The report continues by examining the policy regime in EU fundamental and human rights described in key instruments and documents. Finally, the policies and instruments, together with the competences of the institutions are analysed to identify (in)coherence in EU human rights policies as they have developed since the entry into effect of the Lisbon Treaty. In the annexes to this report, three case studies present concrete examples of the (in)coherence in EU institutions and their human rights policies. One study examines how the FRA has fostered coherence in the structural aspects of EU policymaking by collaborating with a number of bodies and agencies to combat hate crimes in the EU, strengthen protection of LGBT rights and train workers in the respect for fundamental rights when dealing with border management. A second mini-study focuses on conflicting policy interests that lead to incoherence in the EU energy policy. A final study raises concerns about incoherence in policy drafting using the example of the approaches of the institutional actors in the drafting of the Recast Reception Directive. This report makes the following (preliminary) suggested actions to enhance coherence in fundamental and human rights policies among and within the EU institutions:  Adopt a definition of coherence to be consistently used by EU institutions when developing policy.  Develop mandates with clear references to legal bases and policy areas (AFSJ, CSDP, development, etc.)  Create institutional awareness of both fundamental rights and human rights policymaking by establishing one directorate-general solely responsible for coordination and cooperation within the Stockholm Programme and its successor and the Strategic Framework environments.  Give a broader mandate and more independence to FRA, enhancing its ability to monitor and report on violations of fundamental rights, including in the area of police and judicial cooperation and permit the agency to have a presence in human rights dialogues.  Continue training and other awareness-raising activities in all Commission services and among other institutional staff so that fundamental and human rights impacts are assessed early and throughout (informally and formally) all policymaking processes.  Use impact assessments consistently in both internal policy-making and external action to determine the effects of all proposals on fundamental and human rights.