Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


FRAME — Result In Brief

Project ID: 320000
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: Belgium
Domain: Society

Re-framing the EU’s commitment to human rights

EU-funded researchers reframe the EU’s commitment to human rights to better address today’s multiple global challenges.
Re-framing the EU’s commitment to human rights
In the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU made a commitment to uphold and promote its values, including that of human rights. However, this commitment to human rights is facing many challenges, including the various financial crises of recent years and the ongoing refugee crisis. These crises have put significant strain on the EU, making it difficult to always find an effective response that fully complies with human rights.

The EU-funded FRAME project set out to reframe the EU’s commitment to human rights to better address these modern challenges. Its objective was to provide the necessary building blocks for the development and implementation of a comprehensive EU policy on human rights. ‘FRAME was designed to provide the EU with policy-oriented and strategic research to address these challenges to contribute to the development of a comprehensive and coherent policy for the implementation of the EU’s commitment to human rights,’ says Project Coordinator Jan Wouters, Professor at KU Leuven, Belgium, and Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. ‘The project resulted in three fundamental building blocks from which the EU can redefine its commitment to human rights to better meet today’s challenges.’

Building blocks for human rights

The first building block was to create a sound knowledge base that takes into account the evolving factors, concepts, institutions and instruments underlying the protection and promotion of human rights at the EU, international and national levels. The second block provided a critical examination and appraisal of the EU’s real and potential contribution to the governance of global human rights through its engagement with multiple actors and partners and through various policies and instruments. The third and final building block was a set of indicators, tools and policy proposals that allow for a consistent and tailor-made integration of human rights in both EU external and internal actions and policies.

Practical solutions for real results

‘The results of the project’s work took many forms, including the publishing of over 50 comprehensive reports reviewing virtually the EU’s entire range of competences against its commitment to human rights,’ says Wouters. ‘This amounts to over 10 000 pages of knowledge, which is now available on the FRAME website and at the disposal of EU policymakers, civil society and the general public.’ According to Wouters, this repository now constitutes the world’s largest database on the theme of the EU and human rights.

In addition to the database, the FRAME project produced a number of policy briefs on their findings for policymakers. They also created an outcome document that highlights the 40 most important recommendations in a concrete and reader-friendly manner. According to Wouters, this document may serve as a roadmap for EU institutions to use in fine-tuning their commitment to human rights.

The project also broke new ground by putting together and offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the EU’s commitment to human rights. The MOOC, which is based on FRAME research and taught by FRAME researchers, attracted over 12 000 students from 175 countries. The MOOC will be re-run as of 2 October 2017.

‘FRAME offered a number of creative solutions for enhancing the effectiveness and coherence of the EU’s human rights policy,’ concludes Wouters. ‘In essence, it provided concrete guidance to EU policymakers to help resolve the problems that hinder the protection and promotion of human rights in the EU and the world.’

Researchers say that their hope is that the project’s results will be picked up by policymakers. Already there are signs that this is the case. For example, the European Parliament Briefing on Human Rights in EU Trade Policy heavily relies on FRAME research.


FRAME, European Union, Lisbon Treaty, human rights
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