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Fundamental rights must be safeguarded, says Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman, said today that the clear priority for the new Constitutional Treaty should be safeguarding European citizens' fundamental rights. In his keynote speech to a seminar on citizens' rights in Brussels, the Ombudsman said "the best way forward would be to make it possible for the Union to adhere to international human rights conventions, like the European Convention on Human Rights and to make the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights binding wherever EU laws are applied".

According to the Ombudsman, the Constitutional Treaty should present these rights in a way that is clear and accessible for citizens.

The Ombudsman further insisted that effective remedies be clearly established in the Constitutional Treaty for when the law is not followed. These remedies should include judicial and extra-judicial remedies, such as ombudsmen and committees on petitions at all levels of the Union.

"Citizens want European law to be correctly applied and fundamental rights to be respected at all levels of the Union. The available remedies should make it as easy as possible for citizens to obtain justice," the Ombudsman concluded.


The European Convention is currently drafting a Constitutional Treaty for the Union. The Ombudsman is an Observer to the Convention.

The Ombudsman was speaking at the "Seminar on 3 A's to Connect Citizens to the EU", organised by the European Forum of Citizens Advice Services.


To read the Ombudsman's speech, please visit: 

For further information, please contact Ms. Rosita Agnew, Press Officer; tel : 00 33 3 88 17 24 08.

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