CFR Charter of Fundamental Rights

Identity Statement

Reference Code
Reference Archivists

Zantedeschi, Francesca

Content and Structure


The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: the 'travaux préparatoires' and selected documents (CFR).
This collection gathers documents related to the EU Charter of the Fundamental Rights, collected and published by Niall Coghlan and Marc Steiert, with the support of the European University Institute Library. It was published on the 20th anniversary of the Charter’s proclamation (7 December 2000) in order to overcome the difficulties in accessing the Charter’s Travaux préparatoires.
The Charter was drafted in a public Convention between 1999 and 2000 (‘the Charter Convention’), with all documents published online, extensive public discussion by the participants, and an open exchange with several dozen NGOs. The Convention, whose mandate was set out in the Conclusions of the European Council in Cologne (3-4 June 1999), consisted of sixty-two members divided into four ‘components’: 15 representatives of Heads of State or Governments of Member States; 1 representative of the Commission President; 16 MEPs; and 30 national Parliament members. Each could be replaced by alternates. Additionally, two CJEC representatives and two Council of Europe representatives (one from the European Court of Human Rights) were observers. The Convention was to take into account the views of (amongst others) candidate states and NGOs. In addition to the vast quantity of contributions received (see dossiers CFR 11-14), a day of NGO hearings took place on 27 April, an open doors day on 6 June, and the candidate countries were heard on 19 June.
The mandate provided for a ‘drafting committee’ to be created. This would consist of a Chairperson, elected by the body; three Vice-Chairmen, each representing a component; and the Commission representative. In the event, Roman Herzog was elected Chairman by acclamation at the first meeting. The Vice-Chairman for the Representatives of the Heads of State and Government would rotate with the Council Presidency: Paavo Nikula (for Finland, late 1999), Pedro Bacelar de Vaconcelos (Portugal, early 2000) and Guy Braibant (France, late 2000). Importantly, however, Guy Braibant negotiated his being included throughout 2000 in exchange for Bacelar de Vasconcelos having the same right. The European Parliament delegation elected Iñígo Méndez de Vigo, an important member of the constitutionalising group of the Committee on Institutional Affairs as its Vice-Chairman; the National Parliamentarians elected Finland’s Gunnar Jansson. Together with Commissioner Vitorino, this group formed the drafting committee – later the ‘Bureau’ and ultimately the ‘Praesidium’. The vast majority of the meetings of the Body took place in the European Parliament.
The Convention met eighteen times between 17 December 1999 and 2 October 2000. It can be roughly divided into three phases:
1. 17 December 1999 – 4 May 2000: Preparatory phase.
2. 5 May – 31 July 2000: Formal drafting phase.
3. 11 September – 2 October 2000: Finalising phase.

This collection:
• Collates the entire CHARTE document series in Sub-fonds 02. This comes to approximately 5,300 pages of documents which make up the bulk of the travaux préparatoires.
• Adds a selection of other relevant documents, including:
- Key documents relating to EU fundamental rights prior to the Charter Convention, including particularly those providing the context to the Convention (Sub-fonds 01).
- Non-CHARTE documents from the Charter Convention, such as over 400 pages of amendments deposited over summer in respect of the near-final 28 July draft; the mandate, agendas and work plans; and documents of the European Parliament delegation (included in Sub-fonds 02).
- The 2000, 2004 and (in force) 2007 versions of the Charter, including where relevant the Charter Explanations and primary law provisions (Sub-fonds 03).
- Preparatory documents relating to the amendment of the Charter and the evolution of primary law provisions giving it legal effect in the 2003-2004 Convention, 2004 Inter-Governmental Conference and 2007 Inter-Governmental Conference (Sub-fonds 04).

Languages: Editors have preferred the English version of documents where one is available given that this is the most widely-spoken (second) language in Europe, even though the majority of documents were originally drafted in French. Where no English version is available, they have included the French version. For some documents (primarily NGO submissions) neither a French nor an English version is available, in which case they have included the original (German, Spanish and Italian). Finally, a few documents include a mixture of languages, including verbatim minutes from meetings.

Sources of the collected documents:
Sources of the collected documents

Conditions of Access and Use

Type of Archival Materials

Electronic File

Physical Characteristics

PDF dossiers

Allied Materials

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