Wien, 15. February 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "A further mosaic stone for the protection

15.02.2007

Foreign Minister welcomes the official EU decision to establish a Fundamental Rights Agency

Vienna, 15 February 2006 - "Today's adoption of the founding regulation implements that the EU Fundamental Rights Agency can start work on 1 March. I am particularly pleased that the long-standing Austrian concern to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights has now finally borne fruit," said Federal Minister Plassnik on the today's official adoption of the regulation establishing the Fundamental Rights Agency at the Council meeting of the Minister for Justice and Minister for Interior. This decision follows intensive negotiations on the Agency's mandate during the Austrian EU Presidency and a political agreement by the EU partners in December 2006.

The Fundamental Rights Agency will be a central point of contact for EU institutions, Member States, and European citizens with regard to human rights questions in the European Union. One significant task of the Agency will be to provide advice and assistance to help ensuring compliance with fundamental rights in the drafting and implementation of EU legislation. "The Agency aims to make sure that the EU operates without exception in accordance with fundamental rights and in the interests of its citizens. This will be of specific value added benefit to the citizens of Europe."

The new Agency will build on the existing European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia and will have its headquarters in Vienna. Its inauguration will be attended by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. "The Fundamental Rights Agency will further consolidate Vienna's role as the headquarters of major international organisations," concluded the Foreign Minister.

Contact:
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