- The European Parliament: 70 years of European democracy in action
- Advancing human rights in Europe and around the world
In order to strengthen the democratic mission of the European project, Parliament was quick to commit itself to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. MEPs believe that fighting for these rights is a universal struggle, and they are not slow to voice their concerns about human rights violations around the world, irrespective of the borders and regimes that stand in the way.
They therefore stand up for freedom and human rights in countries under the Soviet yoke, in authoritarian regimes in southern European countries and in certain developing countries under military dictatorships.
In the early 1960s, it was the European Parliament that made guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms and respect for democracy one of the requirements for candidate countries to become a member of the European Community. It is also dedicated to defending human rights in its relations with non-EU countries, including in trade relations.
Then, in 1988, Parliament created the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This annual prize is awarded at a plenary sitting in Strasbourg to people around the world who make an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the right to freedom of expression.