(European Economic and Social Committee)

Interim Report – November 2019

The Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group was created as a horizontal body within the European Economic and Social Committee in 2018, and was tasked with enhancing the contribution of organised civil society in strengthening fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law and responding to the shrinking civic space for civil society organisation.
An essential concern for the FRRL Group has been to get as close as possible to the reality on the ground in order to relay the voice of grassroots civil society organisations. Like other EU institutions, the EESC considers it essential to monitor the development of fundamental rights and the rule of law in Europe in a comprehensive way. For this reason the FRRL Group decided from the very outset to visit all the EU Member States.
Five country visits took place in Romania, Poland, Hungary, Austria and France. The five countries examined do not present the same level and severity of challenges.
The country visits lasted two days and were carried out by a delegation of six members of the FRRL Group. They met with various representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), the social partners, the media and the authorities. The EESC met with the Permanent Representations to the EU of the countries concerned prior to the missions and has invited these authorities to present their written observations on the individual country reports.
Both the country visit reports and the Member States observations are included in this interim report. Following the 5 November 2019 conference on ‘Fundamental rights and the rule of law – Trends in the EU from a civil society perspective’, the report will be completed with an analysis including the contributions made during the conference.

Country reports of the visits to:

Romania
(19-20 November 2018)
Poland
(3-5 December 2018)
Hungary
(29-30 April 2019)
France
(28-29 May 2019)
Austria
(3-4 June 2019)

Read the full report here.

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