The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) was established to provide evidence-based policy advice to EU institutions and Member States. By blending social science research with traditional normative work, it aims to influence human rights policy processes through new ways of framing empirical realities. The contributors to this volume critically examine the experience of the Agency in its first decade, exploring FRA’s historical, political and legal foundations and its evolving record across major strands of EU fundamental rights. Central themes arising from these chapters include consideration of how the Agency manages the tension between a mandate to advise and the more traditional approach of human rights bodies to ‘monitor’, and how its research impacts the delicate equilibrium between these two contesting roles. FRA's experience as the first ‘embedded’ human rights agency is also highlighted, suggesting a role for alternative and less oppositional orientations for human rights research. While authors observe the benefits of the technocratic approach to human rights research that is a hallmark of FRA’s evidence-based policy advice, they also note its constraints. FRA’s policy work requires a continued awareness of political realities in Brussels, Member States, and civil society. Consequently, the complex process of determining the Agency’s research agenda reflects the strategic priorities of key actors. This is an important factor in the Agency’s role in the EU human rights landscape. This pioneering position of the Agency should invite reflection on new forms of institutionalized human rights research for the future.

chapter |10 pages


ByRosemary Byrne, Han Entzinger

part Part I|92 pages

FRA and its policy environment

chapter 1|15 pages

The genesis of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency

Why a think tank rather than a monitoring body
ByOlivier De Schutter

chapter 2|15 pages

A new agency, and so what?

Giving flesh and blood to FRA’s founding Regulation
ByMorten Kjærum

chapter 3|14 pages

Hand in hand for a better protection of human rights in Europe

The relationship between the Council of Europe and FRA
ByTatiana Termacic

chapter 4|12 pages

FRA’s policy impact and future posture

Lessons from the perspective of the European Commission
BySalla Saastamoinen

chapter 5|13 pages

Human rights communicators

FRA’s evolving voice on research, rights and policy
ByRosemary Byrne

chapter 6|21 pages

Exploring the political role of FRA

Mandate, resources and opportunities
ByJan Wouters, Michal Ovádek

part Part II|104 pages

Researching applied rights

chapter 7|12 pages

FRA as a meeting place of law and social sciences

ByHan Entzinger, Gerard Quinn

chapter 9|12 pages

Equality and inclusion

Designing research to reconcile rights, ideas and policy practices at FRA
ByHan Entzinger

chapter 10|15 pages

FRA’s efforts to combat hatred, xenophobia and racism

ByFrançoise Tulkens

chapter 11|14 pages

Promoting equality

FRA’s work on Roma
ByJosé Manuel Fresno, Johanna Niemi

chapter 12|13 pages

Violence against women

Policy impact and FRA’s evidence-based research
ByRoman Wieruszewski, Katarzyna Sękowska-Kozłowska

chapter 13|12 pages

Borders and migration control

FRA’s research at protection black spots
ByJens Vedsted-Hansen

chapter 14|10 pages

Embedded EU research on refugee protection

FRA’s work on asylum and irregular migration
ByRosemary Byrne

part Part III|44 pages

Overcoming constraints

chapter 15|10 pages

FRA’s response to the current human rights challenges

ByManfred Nowak, Anna Müller-Funk

chapter 16|18 pages

Upholding the rule of law in the EU

What role for FRA?
ByLaurent Pech, Joelle Grogan

chapter 17|14 pages

Concluding reflections on human rights law andevidence-based policy

ByRosemary Byrne, Han Entzinger