, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 65-81
Date: 12 Nov 2013

Civil Society Actors and EU Fundamental Rights Policy: Opportunities and Challenges

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This paper examines how civil society actors in the EU utilize the political and legal opportunities provided by the EU’s fundamental rights policy to mobilize against discrimination, notably racism, and xenophobia. It emphasizes the multiple enabling roles that this policy provides to civil society associations engaged in judicial activism, political advocacy, and service delivery both at the EU and Member State levels, and assesses their effectiveness. It describes several factors that hinder the implementation of EU fundamental rights policy and reviews the strategies of civil society to overcome them. It highlights the reluctance of parts of public opinion to combat ethnic prejudice, considers reactions against what at a time of crisis is perceived as a costly project of social regulation, and examines civil society responses. The data sources consist of interviews with bureaucratic and civil society actors at EU level.