Wien, 16. June 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: "Vienna as the home of the European Competence Centre for Human Rights"

Signing of the Headquarters Agreement with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna

Vienna, 16 June 2010 - "The establishment of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights was a year-long request by Austria. It closes a gap in the human rights protection system in Europe and enhances the visibility of the EU as a union of values, of the rule of law, and of human rights. Therefore, we were particularly keen on having the headquarters of the agency in Vienna. At the same time, Vienna’s role as an international centre and a place of encounter will be further strengthened", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger during today's signing of the agreement on the headquarters of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights together with the Director of the Agency for Fundamental Rights, Morten Kjaerum.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights began its operation at the Vienna Schwarzenbergplatz on 1 March 2007 as the successor agency of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia established in Vienna in 2000. It is the central port of call for all EU institutions in the area of human rights, and its role is to ensure compliance with fundamental rights within the EU in connection with the development and implementation of EU legislation by providing advice and assistance. „The objective is a citizen-friendly European Union, in full compliance with fundamental human rights. It can thus bring even greater added value to the individual citizen" said the Foreign Minister.

Spindelegger concluded by stressing the importance of cooperation with international and regional organizations, such as the EU Fundamental Rights Agency: „The agency is an important driving force for European human rights policy, especially in the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. It thus makes an important contribution toward the development of a tolerant and respectful society, which sees Europe’s diversity as enrichment. Austria will fully support Morten Kjaerum and his team in their work".

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