While it cannot be denied that the transparency and the perspective of people working in the EU institutions are regularly broadening for the better, it is also true that ‘institutionalised action’ expected as a result of the values expressed in the EU Fundamental Rights Charter, now 10 years after becoming a legally binding instrument, is far from ideal.
This is definitely the case as regards the rights associated with freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination based on religious affiliation.
One of the significant improvements in the exercise of the Charter in that field was the designation of a Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief – though it is notable that the Special Envoy’s mandate excludes any responsibility or authority to look within the European Member States with regard to their application of the rights developed in the Charter. In fact, both the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs Ahmed Shaheed and Jan Figel, a Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the EU appointed by the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, have already stated in various interventions that the EU should be consistent with its policies, both internally and externally. READ FULL ARTICLE