Fundamental rights in the European Union (EU) should be enjoyed by all citizens. However, there is often a disconnect between the fundamental rights conventions ratified by Heads of State in Brussels and the actual experiences of citizens. One of the reasons for the gap between law and practice, relates to how fundamental rights are implemented. Fundamental rights are a shared responsibility across government departments and between national, regional and local government authorities. However, implementing fundamental rights in practice requires a high-level of government coordination and governance that stretches from the local municipal authority to the national ministries.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) based in Vienna, has undertaken an extensive research programme to examine how the gap in multi-level governance can be bridged. The research goal is to identify methods of work and practice that bring together different levels and sectors of government that affect people’s fundamental rights. This touches of sectors such as health, housing, education, law enforcement, employment etc. The results of the Joined-Up Governance project that started in 2010 are now available as a practical and user-friendly toolkit on the FRA website: http://fra.europa.eu/en/joinedup/home
Prospex has been working with the FRA since 2010 in conducting the research with stakeholders in eight EU Member States and creating the toolkit.