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Striving towards an equitable, democratic and sustainable society

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information and documentation associations and institutions in Europe.

Goal 16: 1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries (a selection)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. This text includes the corrigendum published in the OJEU of 23 May 2018.

The regulation is an essential step to strengthen individuals' fundamental rights in the digital age and facilitate business by clarifying rules for companies and public bodies in the digital single market. A single law will also do away with the current fragmentation in different national systems and unnecessary administrative burdens.

Rights of the child

The rights of the child are part of human rights: rights that the EU and EU countries must respect, protect and fulfil.  As laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a child is any human being below the age of 18.  The Commission is guided by the principles set out in the UN Convention on the rights of the child, ratified by all EU countries.

Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union establishes the objective for the EU to promote protection of the rights of the child.

Action Plan against disinformation

Freedom of expression is a core value of the European Union enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the constitutions of Member States. Our open democratic societies depend on the ability of citizens to access a variety of verifiable information so that they can form a view on different political issues. Disinformation is understood as verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm.

Addressing disinformation requires political determination and unified action, mobilising all parts of governments (including counter-hybrid, cybersecurity, intelligence and strategic communication communities, data protection, electoral, law enforcement and media authorities). It requires close cooperation between Union institutions, Member States, civil society and the private sector, especially online platforms.

The coordinated response to disinformation presented in this Action Plan is based on four pillars:

(i) improving the capabilities of Union institutions to detect, analyse and expose disinformation;

(ii) strengthening coordinated and joint responses to disinformation;

(iii) mobilising private sector to tackle disinformation;

(iv) raising awareness and improving societal resilience.

Human dignity – International cooperation and development

The fight against torture and the abolition of the death penalty are two of the long-standing policy priorities of the European Union (EU) and are essential for the enhancement of human dignity. The EU is a leading institutional actor and donor in these areas.

Fight against torture

The prevention and eradication of all forms of torture and ill-treatment worldwide represents one of the main objectives of the EU’s human rights policy

Fight against death penalty

The EU holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty in all circumstances and for all cases.

Trafficking in human beings

Trafficking in human beings is a grave violation of fundamental human rights and an extremely pernicious and highly lucrative form of transnational organised crime. As such, it is prohibited by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 5.3), and defined by the TFEU as a particularly serious form of organised crime (Article 83), with links to immigration policy (Article 79).

Security Research

The primary aims of the Secure Societies Challenge are: a) to enhance the resilience of our society against natural and man-made disasters; b) to fight crime and terrorism ranging from new forensic tools to protection against explosives; c) to improve border security; and d) to provide enhanced cyber-security, ranging from secure information sharing to new assurance models.

A EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance

Every day across Europe, many people are harassed, threatened or assaulted verbally or physically, or are victims of crime because of who they are, be it on grounds of their ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities, social status or other characteristics. Hate speech and incitement to hatred and intolerance is also widespread in the public debate, including on online platforms, social media and chats. The High Level Group is intended as a platform to support EU and national efforts in ensuring effective implementation of relevant rules and in setting up effective policies to prevent and combat hate crime and hate speech. This is done by fostering thematic discussions on gaps, challenges and responses, promoting best practice exchange, developing guidance and strengthening cooperation and synergies between key stakeholders.

Economic, Social and Cultural rights

The indivisibility of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights is a fundamental tenet of international human rights law, as illustrated by the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(link is external) (1948).

While the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides a comprehensive overview of the various economic, social and cultural rights, it is important to note that these rights are also further described in other conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms against Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child(link is external) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to cite only a few.

The European Union uses a broad set of financial instruments (Global Public Goods and Challengescivil society organisations and local authoritiesEuropean Instrument for  Democracy and Human Right etc.) in partnership with Member States and many other donors to support actions and projects aimed at promoting and reinforcing economic social and cultural rights worldwide.


European societies are increasingly dependent on electronic networks and information systems. The evolution of information communication technology has also seen the development of criminal activity that threatens citizens, businesses, governments and critical infrastructures alike: cybercrime.

Civil justice cooperation

Civil justice cooperation refers to helping people and business resolve administrative or legal obstacles when exercising their rights to free movement in the EU. It covers both civil and commercial matters. Most of the time, this is about monetary claims between private parties and/or companies.

Often, civil justice cooperation is about family law monetary claims, but also divorce decisions and decisions on child custody. Judicial cooperation in the EU supports the free movement of persons.

Family reunification

The Directive on the right to family reunification establishes common rules for exercising the right to family reunification in 25 EU Member States (excluding the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark). It determines the conditions under which family reunification is granted, establishes procedural guarantees and provides rights for the family members concerned.

Public participation and access to justice

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus (Århus) (For recent up-dates and the follow-up process please have a look at the UNECE Convention website). The Aarhus Convention establishes a number of rights of the public (individuals and their associations) with regard to the environment.

The Convention provides for:

  • the right of everyone to receive environmental information that is held by public authorities ("access to environmental information");
  • the right to participate in environmental decision-making;
  • the right to review procedures to challenge public decisions that have been made without respecting the two aforementioned rights or environmental law in general.

Fighting Corruption

Corruption is the abuse of power for private gain. Corruption takes many forms, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, but can also hide behind nepotism, conflicts of interest, or revolving doors between the public and the private sectors. The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognises corruption as a "euro-crime". With the adoption of the Stockholm Programme, the Commission has been given a political mandate to measure efforts in the fight against corruption and to develop a comprehensive EU anti-corruption policy, in close cooperation with the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

Empowering civil society in partner countries – International cooperation and development

An empowered civil society is a crucial component of any democratic system and is an asset in itself. It represents and fosters pluralism and can contribute to more effective policies, equitable and European Researchconflict resolution. By articulating citizens' concerns, civil society organisations (CSOs) are active in the public arena, engaging in initiatives to further participatory democracy and governance.

The EU considers Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to include all non-State, not-for-profit structures, non-partisan and non-violent, through which people organise to pursue shared national, regional and international levels, they comprise urban and rural, formal and informal organisations.

Tackling discrimination at work

Laws for equal rights between women and men have existed since the very early days of the European Community.  Since the 1970s a total of 13 pieces of legislation have been adopted with the aim of ensuring that women and men get fair and equal treatment at work.  

These laws cover a range of areas including equal treatment when apply for a job, equal treatment at work, protection of pregnant workers and breastfeeding mothers, and rights to maternity leave and parental leave. Millions of women and men across Europe enjoy these rights every day – but few of them know that the European Union is behind these laws!

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