The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: What Can It Do?

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The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a legally binding document that contains a list of human rights recognised by the European Union (EU). It could become a powerful tool available to influence policy makers or serve as a basis for litigation. Individuals can use judicial and political mechanisms to hold EU institutions, and in certain circumstances member countries, to account when they fail to comply with the Charter. The Charter can also be used to pressure decision makers to bring policies and legislation under development in line with human rights standards. This background paper explains when and how the Charter can be used by advocates at national and EU level.