Poverty and intolerance, the EU challenges in the new FRA report

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has just published the latest edition of the Fundamental Rights Report, which provides an overview of the progress and challenges in human rights protection in the European Union during 2023. Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini gave its contribution to the publication on behalf of Italy.

The first finding of this year's report is the rising cost of living and energy, which has pushed one in five people in the EU towards the poverty line, especially the most vulnerable social groups such as children, single parents, Roma and migrants.

Secondly, migration policies seem to protect EU borders, though at the cost of increasing the risks for migrants and asylum seekers: in 2023, more than 4.000 people died or disappeared at sea. It is the highest number in five years.

Moreover, the scope for civil society action continues to shrink. This, together with a lack of meaningful involvement in public affairs and disinformation, is undermining democracy across Europe.

The Agency also notes an increase in anti-Semitism, especially following the resurgence of hostilities after 7 October 2023. The trend is connected to a general growth in intolerance which is affecting many groups, including Muslims, people of African descent, Roma and migrants.

"Polarisation across Europe is leading to widespread intolerance, creating divided societies with many groups suffering. Rising poverty and democratic threats are further fuelling uncertainty and societal tensions" FRA Director Sirpa Rautio stated. "But Europe also has a strong foundation in human rights which can guide our actions. We should all pull together and work to our strengths to ensure a secure and inclusive future that respects the rights of all where everybody feels safe to be who they are". 

In order to address these challenges, FRA calls on EU and member states to ensure that poverty and energy cost reduction measures reach disadvantaged groups; to strengthen guarantees to protect fundamental rights at borders, by improving search and rescue operations at sea; to protect civil society, and to take a firm stance against all forms of racism and related intolerance.

As the Italian partner of the multi-disciplinary network of experts FRANET, Fondazione Brodolini edited the Italian Fundamental Rights Report 2024, as in previous years, which can also be downloaded from FRA's website.

Read the full report on fundamental rights 2024

Read the report on fundamental rights in Italy 2024