EU justice ministers agree to civil liberties agency of limited scope

[JURIST] The European Union [official website, JURIST news archive] announced a provisional deal [press release, PDF] Monday for the establishment of an EU agency on fundamental rights, which would build upon the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia [official website] and monitor civil liberties in all of the 25 EU member nations. After three years of negotiations, the agreement is expected to be finalized Tuesday. According to the Council of the European Union, the agency's purpose will to:

provide the relevant institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Community and its Member States when implementing Community law with assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights in order to support them when they take measures or formulate courses of action within their respective spheres of competence to fully respect fundamental right.
The negotiations on creating the agency stalled primarily based on EU justice ministers' disagreement over what powers the agency will have in enforcing discovered abuses.

The compromise agreement left areas of contention, such as policing, justice and criminal matters, outside of the agency's scope. Under the current agreement, the agency will be able to investigate domestic abuse, discrimination claims and the rights of asylum seekers. The agency and its present delegated powers are scheduled to be re-evaluated in 2009. AP has more. EUObserver.com has additional coverage.

 

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