- The European Parliament: 70 years of European democracy in action
- Defending the values of the European Union
The European Parliament maintains that the foundations of a united Europe were laid on core values and principles, which bind countries and peoples together: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and fundamental rights, including those of minorities.
Even before its first direct elections in 1979, Parliament promoted fundamental rights in carrying out its powers. MEPs believe that advancing fundamental rights affirms the end goal of building a united Europe. For thirty years, Parliament has held an annual debate and adopted a resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union.
Having long pushed for the European Union to codify people’s rights, MEPs think it is important for everyone to be aware of the fundamental rights and freedoms they are guaranteed. They stress that a system of redress should be available to raise possible violations.
In the early 2000s, Parliament’s representatives played a leading role in drawing up the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. For the first time, MEPs joined forces with members of national parliaments, representatives of Heads of State and of Government and the European Commission to draw up a constitutional-style text.
The result of these discussions was a charter listing all of the common values and rights, based on the essential principles of human dignity, fundamental freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizenship and justice, democracy and the rule of law.
More recently, Parliament has been concerned about democratic backsliding and a gradual erosion of EU values in some Member States, and it has supported sanctions measures against any such breaches. It has also set up a group to monitor democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the European Union.