Charter rights are based on the Treaty of European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as on the case law of the Court of Justice.
The Charter is divided into six titles: Dignity (Articles 1. - 5.), Freedoms (Articles 6.-19.), Equality (Articles 20. – 26.), Solidarity (Articles 27. – 38.), Citizens’ Rights (Articles 39. – 46.) and Justice (Articles 47. – 50.). The seventh title clarifies the scope of application of the Charter.
Title I “Dignity” includes the rights to human dignity, life and integrity of the person, and reaffirms the prohibitions of torture and slavery.
Title II “Freedoms” includes the right to liberty and respect for private and family life, the right to marry and to found a family, freedoms of thought, conscience and religion, expression and information, and assembly and association. It also confirms the right to protection of personal data, the rights to education, to engage in work, to conduct a business, to property and asylum.
Title III “Equality” covers equality before the law; non-discrimination; cultural, religious and linguistic diversity; equality between women and men; the rights of the child; the rights of the elderly; the integration of persons with disabilities.
Title IV “Solidarity” covers protection for the rights of workers, including the rights to collective bargaining and action and to fair and just working conditions. It also recognises entitlements to social security, the right of access to health care as well as environmental and consumer protection.
Title V “Citizens’ Rights” enumerates the rights of the citizens of the Union: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections, the right to good administration, and the rights to petition, to have access to documents, to diplomatic protection and to freedom of movement and of residence.
Title VI “Justice” reaffirms the rights to an effective remedy and a fair trial, the right of defence, the principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences, and the right not to be tried or punished twice.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights includes both civil and political as well as economic and social rights.
Most of the rights recognised by the Charter correspond to rights also guaranteed by the ECHR. However, it also includes rights not to be found in the ECHR – such as for example the right to protection of personal data (Art 8.), the right of collective bargaining and action including the right to strike (Art 28.), the right to good administration (Art 41).
The Charter makes a distinction between rights and principles. Principles cannot be relied upon directly by individuals in the way rights can. They are to be implemented through additional legislation and only become significant for the courts in cases involving the interpretation and legality of such laws.