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Meeting communications challenges across the levels: The example of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Carolyn Rowe

This paper explores the multi-level nature of European citizenship as a communications prerogative within the European Union's governing architecture. Using the example of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the paper explores the extent to which the effective implementation of the Charter and the concomitant protection of fundamental rights in the EU is a multi-level and multi-actored process. Many of the initiatives undertaken to explain, highlight and effectively communicate the Charter are undertaken through partnership arrangements between multiple tiers of governmental authority in the member states, or indeed, through partnerships at the local and regional level, where municipal and regional authorities engage in projects that are run collaboratively with stakeholder groups such as NGOS or voluntary associations. Based on a wide-ranging empirical survey of policy practice in the member states, this paper addresses how the communications challenge with regard to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is being met through voluntary partnership arrangements across levels of political authority. The focus is on a small number of case study policy dimensions to the Charter, including:Countering gender discrimination;Spatial planning;Responsibility for the rights of the child;Promoting diversity and inter-cultural understanding;Responding to new migrant flows;Fostering the political rights of all EU citizens, and;The protection of environmental rights.The paper suggests that this multi-level response offers something of a multiplier effect within the broader EU communications process, encouraging wide-scale engagement with EU policy issues.

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