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Schulz: ‘reducing fundamental rights because of crisis would be a mistake’

06.12.2012 - 18:07

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said during the opening of the Fundamental Rights Conference in Brussels that it would be a mistake to reduce the fundamental rights of the European Union (EU) citizens because of the economic crisis.

In his opinion, economic success together with fundamental rights was what makes the EU successful.

The annual Fundamental Rights Conference is organized by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency(FRA) and this year it is devoted to the topic of justice in austerity.

According to Schultz, monitoring of the compliance with fundamental rights was necessary on an equal footing with a budget deficits monitoring.

The EP President also raised the issue that the European Parliament was still not a member of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and added that the combination of economic success and fundamental rights was what was making the EU successful around the world.

The Director of FRA, Morten Kjaerum,  emphasised that working towards and defending fundamental rights was a task for all. In his words, the access to justice was not only a right on its own m but also directly linked to other rights. This is why the member stated had the obligation to protect and promote it.

According to Kjaerum, more focus on the access to justice was needed in times of crisis and not less.

Earlier today, the agency released its newest report on access to justice in cases of discrimination in the European Union.  It found that financial austerity should not impair the access to justice, while non-judicial institutions could improve the access to justice and at the same time possibly reducing the overall cost of the justice system.