ISSN: 1831-4554




EU action against discrimination
Activity report 2007- 08




                           European Comm...
This publication is supported under the European Community Programme for Employment and Social
Solidarity - PROGRESS (2007...
EU action against discrimination
         Activity report 2007-08




                               European Commission

...
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission may be held responsible for the use that...
Foreword


                                When I was appointed European Commissioner in 2004, “Equal Opportunities”
     ...
Table of contents
Foreword ..................................................................................................
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




         Part III - Communicating equality ..................
Timeline of anti-discrimination highlights 2007-08
2007                                                                   ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




16 September 2008                                         ...
Introduction
Many people throughout the European Union face dis-              The importance of partnerships between Membe...
Part I - Policy and partnership
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




    1.1. EU policy and programme                          ...
Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p




workplace remained a key topic, with French Labour Min-         in ke...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




•	 The European Roma Information Office, which pro-       ...
Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p




yond EU requirements. Irish legislation has also identified   Shigeo ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




1.5.3. December 2008, Council Conclusions on
       inclus...
Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p




Part II - Putting the law into practice




                         ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




     The 2000 Equality Directives were a legal milestone
 ...
Pa r t I I - P u t t i n g t h e l a w i n t o p r a c t i c e




Network of legal experts                               ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




where justified by legitimate social policy objectives    ...
Pa r t I I - P u t t i n g t h e l a w i n t o p r a c t i c e




The ECJ stated that "an interpretation of the Directive...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




2.4. Legal provision for Equality                         ...
Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p




Part III - Communicating equality




                               ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




   3.1. European Year of Equal                            ...
Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y




celebrating diversity. School pupils from Ireland picked
up t...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




3.2.2. National awareness-raising projects                ...
Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y




various stakeholders, through various means. It also         ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




     3.4.1. European Commission studies spotlight         ...
Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y




Conclusion and Annexes




                                  ...
EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08




Conclusion
The years 2007-08 were clearly key in strengthe...
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08
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The report "EU action against discrimination" presents the activities carried out by the European Commission in 2007-08 to fight discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as regards to employment and occupation.It describes the policy and partnership aspects, the state of play in the legislation and its implementation at national level including some case law and the various activities conducted to communicate equality. This publication is available in printed format in English, French and German and in electronic format in all other EU official languages.

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‘EU action against discrimination’ – Activity report 2007-08

  1. 1. ISSN: 1831-4554 EU action against discrimination Activity report 2007- 08 European Commission
  2. 2. This publication is supported under the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS (2007-2013). This programme is managed by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission. It was established to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in the employment and social affairs area, as set out in the Social Agenda, and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy goals in these fields. The seven-year Programme targets all stakeholders who can help shape the development of appropriate and effective employment and social legislation and policies, across the EU-27, EFTA-EEA and EU candidate and potential candidate countries. PROGRESS mission is to strengthen the EU contribution in support of Member States’ commitment. PROGRESS will be instrumental in: · providing analysis and policy advice on PROGRESS policy areas; · monitoring and reporting on the implementation of EU legislation and policies in PROGRESS policy areas; · promoting policy transfer, learning and support among Member States on EU objectives and priorities; and · relaying the views of the stakeholders and society at large For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/progress
  3. 3. EU action against discrimination Activity report 2007-08 European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Unit G4 Manuscript completed in April 2009
  4. 4. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission may be held responsible for the use that may be made of the information contained in this publication. Cover photo: "Different" by Lucian Enasoni, Breaking stereotypes photo competition of the “For diversity against discrimination” campaign - © European Communities Photos pages 11,13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30: JPH. Woodland - © European Communities Europe Direct is a service to help you find answers to your questions about the European Union Freephone number (*) : 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 (*) Certain mobile telephone operators do not allow access to 00 800 numbers or these calls may be billed. A great deal of additional information on the European Union is available on the Internet. It can be accessed through the Europa server (http://europa.eu). © European Communities, 2009 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Cataloguing data as well as an abstract can be found at the end of this publication. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2009 ISBN: 978-92-79-12447-1 doi: 10.2767/13447 Printed in Belgium Printed on white chlorine-free PaPer
  5. 5. Foreword When I was appointed European Commissioner in 2004, “Equal Opportunities” became part of the headline remit of my Directorate-General. Since then, my role has been to ensure that equality issues are also at the forefront of policy and action across the European Union. The period covered by this report has proved the ideal occasion to step equality efforts up a gear. 2007 was the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (EYEO), marking an unpre- cedented commitment at European and national levels to put diversity and all forms of discrimination at the top of the agenda. It has united a wide range of actors in a common purpose, and has brought equality messages to a wide public. Crucially, we kept up the momentum in 2008 with a Communication setting out a renewed commitment to tackling discrimination and promoting diversity. We also proposed a much-anticipated extension to equality laws that are already among the most ambitious in the world. Efforts at European level can only be effective when built on the strong foundation of dedicated public authori- ties, equality bodies, civil society, trade unions and employers at national, regional and local levels. By working more closely together and maintaining the highest level of commitment we can continue to make progress towards a fairer Europe. I would like to add a particular word on Roma. Europe’s largest ethnic minority continues to suffer particularly high levels of discrimination and inequality. It is therefore only right that tackling this injustice has been among our priori- ties in 2007 and 2008. While recognising the major effort of all those who work for equality, I consider vital to underline that we are still a long way from eradicating discrimination from our workplaces and society. These challenges are not getting any easier. The strain of the economic downturn, which began in earnest in late 2008, makes it more important than ever to assert that diversity, not discrimination, is the way forward. Vladimír Špidla European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
  6. 6. Table of contents Foreword .................................................................................................. 3 Introduction ............................................................................................. 9 Timeline of anti-discrimination highlights 2007-08 ............................. 7 Part I - Policy and partnership .............................................................. 11 1.1. EU policy and programme milestones..................................................................... 12 1.2. Partnership with Member States ............................................................................... 12 1.2.1. Equality Summits .............................................................................................................................................................12 1.2.2. Governmental Expert Group .......................................................................................................................................13 1.3. Cooperation with civil society ..................................................................................... 13 1.3.1. Civil society voice in policy ...........................................................................................................................................13 1.3.2. European Commission support to networks .......................................................................................................13 1.3.3. Training ................................................................................................................................................................................14 1.4. High level group on the Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities .................... 14 1.4.1. Best practice .......................................................................................................................................................................14 1.5. Focus on Roma ................................................................................................................. 15 1.5.1. Report on instruments for inclusion ........................................................................................................................15 1.5.2. First EU Roma summit ...................................................................................................................................................15 1.5.3. December 2008, Council Conclusions on inclusion of the Roma................................................................16 Part II - Putting the law into practice ................................................... 17 2.1. Infringement procedures .............................................................................................. 18 2.1.1. Racial Equality Directive................................................................................................................................................18 2.1.2. Employment Equality Directive..................................................................................................................................19 2.2. Selected case law from the European Court of Justice ...................................... 19 2.2.1. Compulsory retirement (Age discrimination, United Kingdom) ..................................................................19 2.2.2. Recruitment policy (Race/ethnic origin discrimination, Belgium) ..............................................................20 2.2.3. Pension entitlement (Sexual orientation discrimination, Germany) ........................................................ 20 2.2.4. Discrimination by association (Disability discrimination, United Kingdom) ....................................... 20 2.3. The proposal for a new anti-discrimination Directive ........................................ 21 2.4. Legal provision for Equality bodies ........................................................................... 22 2.4.1. Equinet: European Network of Equality Bodies .................................................................................................. 22 5
  7. 7. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 Part III - Communicating equality ........................................................ 23 3.1. European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (EYEO) ......................................... 24 3.1.1. Year highlights ................................................................................................................................................................. 24 3.1.2. Year conclusions and legacy ...................................................................................................................................... 25 3.2. Awareness-raising............................................................................................................ 25 3.2.1. ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination’ campaign ..............................................................................................25 3.2.2. National awareness-raising projects ...................................................................................................................... 26 3.2.3. Selected highlights ......................................................................................................................................................... 26 3.2.4. Belfast conference on communication ................................................................................................................. 26 3.2.5. Equal opportunities for all: What role for positive action? ............................................................................ 27 3.3. Understanding discrimination: Eurobarometer surveys ................................... 27 3.4. The business case for diversity .................................................................................... 27 3.4.1. European Commission studies spotlight benefits............................................................................................. 28 3.4.2. Smaller businesses .......................................................................................................................................................... 28 3.4.3. Diversity charters............................................................................................................................................................. 28 Conclusion.............................................................................................. 30 Annexes .................................................................................................. 31 Annex I - Key publications 2007-08 ...................................................... 31 Publications by the network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field .. 31 Publications from Experts on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities............... 32 Annex II - National equality body competences ................................. 33 6
  8. 8. Timeline of anti-discrimination highlights 2007-08 2007 3 December • Report of the High Level Group on the Social Integration of Ethnic Minori- 1 January 2007 ties and their Full Participation in the Labour Market. • European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (EYEO) begins. • International Day of Disabled Persons "Decent Work for Persons with • New seven-year PROGRESS programme is launched, with anti-dis- Disabilities". crimination as one of its five policy and action areas. 6-7 December 2007 23 January 2007 Conference "Equal Opportunities for All – Multiple Discrimination Eurobarometer Survey "Discrimination in the European Union" is pub- Matters", Elsinore, Denmark. lished. 18 December 2007 30-31 January 2007 Closing reception for the EYEO in Brussels. 2007 FDAD Journalist Award First ever EU Equality Summit is held in Berlin. ceremony. 1 March 2007 • European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) becomes the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). 2008 • EU Photo Competition for Diversity is launched. 1 January 2008 16 April 2007 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue picks up the baton from the 2006 "For Diversity. Against Discrimination." (FDAD) Journalist Award EYEO. ceremony celebrated in Brussels. 31 January 2008 23 April 2007 Commission sends formal notice/ reasoned opinions to 11 Member Conference "Equal Opportunities for all: What role for positive action?", States regarding implementation of the Employment Equality Directive. Rome, Italy. 13 March 2008 25 April 2007 Seminar presenting the results of the study "The fight against discrimina- EU Diversity Truck Tour is launched. tion and the promotion of equality: How to measure progress done". 10-12 May 2007 29 April 2008 Eurovision song contest, watched by millions of viewers across Conference of the Slovene Presidency on Intergenerational solidarity, Europe, is supported by the EYEO. Brdo, Slovenia. 20 June 2007 5-6 June 2008 Train the trainer session in Cologne, Germany, the first step in an 18-month Conference on "Communicating Equality and Non-discrimination in programme of anti-discrimination and diversity training sessions. the European Union", Belfast, United Kingdom. 27 June 2007 20 June 2008 European Commission sends "reasoned opinion" to 14 Member States EU Diversity Truck Tour kicks off in Prague, Czech Republic. regarding implementation of Racial and Ethnic Origin Directive. 2 July 2008 4 July 2007 • Commission proposes new anti-discrimination Directive and issues a Commission launches public consultation on new anti-discrimination communication entitled. "Non-discrimination and equal opportuni- measures. ties: A renewed commitment". • The Governmental Expert Group on Non-discrimination is set up. 11-12 October 2007 • European Commission report on "EU instruments and policies for Conference "European Parliament of Equal Opportunities for All", Brussels. Roma inclusion" is published. • A new Eurobarometer survey "Discrimination in the European Union: 19-20 November 2007 Perceptions, Experiences and Attitudes" is published. • "Celebrating 2007!" – Closing Conference of the EYEO in Lisbon, Portugal. 1 September 2008 • EQUINET network of equality bodies is launched. 2008 FDAD Journalist Award is launched. 7
  9. 9. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 16 September 2008 1-2 December 2008 First European Roma Summit, Brussels. Conference "Acting locally for a society for all" as follow up to European Disability Action Plan, Brussels. 29-30 September 2008 Second European Equality Summit, Paris. 3 December 2008 International Day of Disabled Persons "Convention on the Rights of 18 November 2008 Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and justice for all of us". First meeting of the Governmental Expert Group on Non-Discrimina- tion, Brussels. 11-12 December 2008 Conference on the business case for diversity "Continuing the Diversity 25 November 2008 Journey", Brussels. Legal seminar on the implementation of EU law on equal opportunities and anti-discrimination, Brussels. 8
  10. 10. Introduction Many people throughout the European Union face dis- The importance of partnerships between Member States, crimination on the basis of their racial or ethnic origin, re- civil society and European institutions in the formulation ligion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, age and sex. of policy is highlighted in the report. The Equality Sum- However a large proportion remains unaware of legisla- mits, the Governmental Expert Group on non-discrimina- tion in place to provide protection against such discrimi- tion and other high level groups illustrate this commit- nation. In this report the focus will be on discrimination on ment to collaboration. the grounds of racial or ethnic origin prohibited by the so called Racial Equality Directive and the grounds of religion The European legislative framework is explained in some or belief, disability, sexual orientation and age as prohibit- detail and selected case law from the European Court of ed by the Employment Equality Directive.1 Discrimination Justice demonstrates how legal provisions have been ap- on the ground of sex, protection against which is provided plied in practice. An overview of the ground work done in by large body of European legislative texts, will not be cov- 2007-08 on a draft Directive that would extend protection ered in this report.2 against discrimination considerably is provided. How na- tional governments have transposed anti-discrimination As well as taking the step of informing people of their Directives and provided for redress is considered. rights, taking discrimination seriously means recognising that diversity needs not only to be accommodated but The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All promoted as an asset to economy, society and culture. was an ambitious undertaking which spurred hundreds Therefore promoting diversity and combating discrimi- of national actions and aimed to make people aware of nation were key priorities in the European Commission their rights to equal treatment. The main highlights are in 2007-08. This report aims to bring to light some of outlined and the potential for the future noted. The "For the most important legal and policy developments and Diversity. Against Discrimination" campaign continued to awareness raising activities and events that occurred use visual and innovative means to promote diversity, with during this period. highlights such as the Truck Tour and the Journalist Award. Sharing the message that diversity is beneficial for business is essential, especially in a time of economic strain, and the main developments in diversity policies are noted. Kick-off of the EU Truck Tour in Prague, 20 June 2008 1 Directive 2000/43/EC, Directive 2000/78/EC. 2 See http://ec.europa.eu/genderequality 9
  11. 11. Part I - Policy and partnership
  12. 12. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 1.1. EU policy and programme strategy to promote non-discrimination and equal op- portunities. Equality mainstreaming, use of data, posi- milestones tive action and training/awareness-raising were high- lighted as key areas. The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (page 24) gave a new momentum to the development of The success of European level policy and action depends equality policy and action at EU level. On 1 January 2007, on successful cooperation with all equality actors, such as a new Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity Member States, civil society, trade unions and business. (PROGRESS), picked up the baton from the Community Action Programme to Combat Discrimination (2001-06). 1.2. Partnership with Member States The "Non-Discrimination and Diversity" strand of PRO- GRESS continues the Action Programme’s key non- The EU and Member States play essential, complementa- discrimination activities to raise awareness at all levels, ry roles in delivering strong equality policies and action. boost the capacity of the legal and civil society sectors The Equality Directives have represented a key contribu- and investigate root causes and effective action linked to tion from the European level. Member States are respon- equality. With a budget of over € 700 million for 2007- sible for fully transposing these to national legislation, 2013, PROGRESS also funds activities in the areas of: adapting them so that there are tailored to national re- employment, social inclusion and protection, working alities. Several countries go above and beyond the mini- conditions and the effective implementation of the prin- mum standards. ciple of gender equality and promotion of gender main- streaming in all EU policies. The inclusion of these areas Against a backdrop of varying national equality contexts, gives the programme a more comprehensive and inte- there is vast scope for mutually beneficial cooperation, grated dimension, with important benefits – for example both between European and national bodies and be- in addressing discrimination on multiple grounds. tween Member States. Whether shaping policy or plan- ning grassroots action, common challenges are best faced by working together. The Commission played its role in 2007-08, inter alia, by co-organising the first two high-level equality summits of their kind and setting up a governmental expert group. 1.2.1. Equality summits European equality summits, held in Berlin and Paris, helped drive discrimination and diversity issues to the very top of EU and national government agendas. Fruit- ful exchanges between ministers, policy makers, as well as NGO, social partner and employer representatives marked a strong statement of intent to prioritise a more equal society. Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and German Federal Min- ister Ursula von der Leyen launched the Berlin Equality Summit on 30 January 2007, which also set the stage to kick off the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (EYEO). Participants, whether from EU institutions, public Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and French Minister Xavier Bertrand, authorities, NGOs or social partners were united in set- Equality Summit in Paris ting long-term goals for the Year beyond the 12 months it would run. A further policy landmark was the European Commis- sion Communication of 2 July 2008, issued as part of a The Paris summit on 29-30 September 2008 once again package including a proposal for a new anti-discrimi- brought together high-level anti-discrimination policy nation Directive (page 21), the setting up of a govern- makers and stakeholders. It provided a forum to debate mental expert group (page 13) and a working paper on the new Directive (page 21) proposed in order to extend instruments for Roma inclusion (page 15). The Commu- legal protection beyond the labour market to cover also nication set out a "renewed commitment" and a call to goods and services for the discrimination grounds of age, support better legal protection by presenting an active disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation. The 12
  13. 13. Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p workplace remained a key topic, with French Labour Min- in key events such as the Berlin Equality Summit and ister Xavier Bertrand and Commissioner Vladimír Špidla the Lisbon Closing Conference of the EYEO, NGOs were calling for EU-wide take-up of "diversity charter" initia- among the most enthusiastic respondents to a Commis- tives for employers (page 28) that had proved success- sion online consultation on anti-discrimination between ful in France, Germany and Belgium. Summit conclusions 4 July and 15 October 2007. During these eight weeks, included the need for an independent role for equality 138 national and 33 Europe-wide NGOs responded – rep- bodies and greater attention to equality mainstreaming resenting more than one third of all responses by organi- and multiple discrimination. sations, public authorities and companies. Civil society input during the consultation stressed the 1.2.2. Governmental expert group need to extend anti-discrimination legal protection be- yond the workplace and to continue to take measures When the EYEO was over, it was vital to maintain the mo- beyond legislation to ensure greater equality in practice. mentum gained, especially in respect to the cooperation Better understanding and more comprehensive action on with and between governments that had been forged multiple discrimination was also a recurring concern. The on anti-discrimination policy and exchange of best prac- Commission, for its part, responded by proposing new tice. To this end, the Commission launched an initiative legislation on 2 July 2008 (page 21) and holding a confer- to form a "Governmental Expert Group" (GEG), made up ence on multiple discrimination in December 2007. of one high-level representative from each Member State with policy responsibility in the field of anti-discrimina- tion and the promotion of equality. 1.3.2. European Commission support to networks Formally announced on 2 July 2008 and effective in No- vember 2008 , the GEG was tasked with: Under the PROGRESS programme, which began in Janu- ary 2007, partnerships agreements for financial support • Facilitating cooperation between relevant authorities were signed with key umbrella networks and other valu- in Member States and the European Commission; able European-level organisations. • Following-up and supporting the evaluation of EU and The key networks, each responsible for grounds covered national non-discrimination policies; by anti-discrimination legislation are: • Boosting exchange of experience and good practice • AGE, the European Older People’s Platform, which pro- on non-discrimination and the promotion of equality. motes the interests of older people in the EU and raises awareness of the issues that concern them most; Additionally the GEG took over the role as contact point for the non-discrimination strand under the PROGRESS • The European Disability Forum (EDF), which defends the programme. rights of 50 million people with disabilities in Europe; • The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), which 1.3. Cooperation with civil society represents more than 600 organisations working against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islam- Equality and non-discrimination non-governmental or- ophobia in Europe; ganisations (NGOs) play a dual role in combating discrimi- nation. First, they often provide direct support and advice to victims of discrimination and those most at risk of unfair treatment. They also use their on-the-ground experience to provide invaluable input to anti-discrimination policy at all levels. European level cooperation with NGOs and NGO networks is mutually beneficial in both of these areas. 1.3.1. Civil society voice in policy The European Commission had already built up good contact and interaction with civil society by the time of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities (EYEO), which provided further opportunities for the NGO sec- tor to make its voices heard. As well as participating fully 13
  14. 14. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 • The European Roma Information Office, which pro- 1.4. High level group on the Social motes political and public discussion on Roma issues by providing factual and in-depth information on a Integration of Ethnic Minorities range of policy issues; The High Level Group on the Social Integration of Ethnic • International Lesbian Gay Association-Europe (ILGA- Minorities and their Full Participation in the Labour Market Europe), which links over 350 national and local groups was established on the basis of Commission decision dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbians, gay 2006/33/EC on 20 January 2006. Its purpose is to examine men, bisexuals and transgender people. which obstacles prevent the integration of members of ethnic minorities into the labour market and society and Other networks active in this field have also been sup- to identify best practice to overcome these difficulties. ported: Autism Europe; the European Association of Serv- ice Providers for Persons with Disabilities; the European The Group comprises 10 representatives coming from Blind Union; the European Network on Independent Liv- varied backgrounds including the worlds of business, ing; Inclusion Europe and the International Federation government, media and civil society. Each member has for Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida. an established track record of commitment in combating discrimination and working for equality issues. 1.3.3. Training In 2007, the Group analysed a wealth of research in this area, met representatives from both employer and em- It has been widely recognised that while European Direc- ployee organisations and exchanged views with the tives have gone a long way to providing a legal guarantee members of the European Parliament’s Committee on against discrimination, they do not in themselves ensure Civil Liberties. a radical improvement of equal rights in practice. Training seminars for NGOs are a further means of achieving this. The Group subsequently identified 14 barriers to ethnic They already proved useful during the minorities in getting a job: lack of education and training; Community Action Programme to lack of language skills; lack of recognition of skills and Combat Discrimination, which qualifications; lack of access to professions; lack of access ran from 2001-2006. Many to citizenship; lack of integration policies; stereotypes, NGO representatives took prejudices and negative attitudes; industrial change; dis- part, and useful train- incentives through welfare systems; discrimination; lack ing material was de- of information; labour market competition; and unde- veloped and made clared work. freely available. In addition, the Group highlighted a number of other is- In a similar vein, sues through its progress reports, including the lack of a new series of data on migrant workers and the need to include them in sessions was or- collective agreements. The need to provide more advice ganised under to small businesses on applying discrimination law was the PROGRESS also stressed. programme. Between au- 1.4.1. Best practice tumn 2007 and spring 2008, a se- ACCEDER, a project supporting Roma in Spain, was ries of national train- among the best practices singled out by the Group. While ing seminars were many individuals assert that they want "equal" treatment, financed by the Euro- not "special" treatment, positive action, as provided for pean Commission and under the Equality Directives, can have a valuable role to carried out in all EU Member play, as testified by ACCEDER. Positive action was also the States, Turkey, Norway and Iceland. subject of a Commission conference and thematic bro- 1100 participants from NGOs and nearly 300 chure in 2007 (page 26). participants from trade unions attended national non- discrimination seminars for training in raising awareness A Member State good practice example cited by the and understanding of national legislation and policy. The Group was legal provisions made in Ireland above and PROGRESS programme also supports training for legal beyond minimum standards set by EU Equality Direc- practitioners in the non-discrimination field carried out tives. By 2007, Ireland had already established anti-dis- by the Academy of European Law (ERA). crimination legislation covering goods and services be- 14
  15. 15. Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p yond EU requirements. Irish legislation has also identified Shigeo Katsu, Vice-President of the World Bank, as well and provided for nine different discrimination grounds. as Lívia Járóka and Viktória Mohácsi, Hungarian MEPs of Roma origin. 1.5. Focus on Roma It was agreed that the problems were complex but that the basic priorities are clear: education, employment, The term "Roma" is commonly employed as an umbrella health and housing. The July Commission report noted term for a number of groups including Roma, Sinti and legal measures already taken and pointed to Structural Travellers. Numbering between 10-12 million, Roma col- Funds as a valuable resource for action. It was conclud- lectively constitute the largest ethnic minority in Europe. ed that projects would be most effective where sup- While respecting the cultural distinction between the ported in design and implementation by civil society. different groups, the European Commission is acting to These measures, together with closer cooperation espe- counter the common challenges faced by these groups, cially with Member States, could make inroads into the including extensive discrimination and social exclusion. unacceptable, persistent situation of discrimination and This is a situation also acknowledged by the European marginalisation faced by Roma people in Europe. public, 77% of whom consider that being Roma is a dis- advantage in society (Eurobarometer page 27). 1.5.1. Report on instruments for inclusion At their December 2007 summit, EU leaders called for renewed examination of policies and instruments avail- able at EU level to improve Roma inclusion. A follow-up European Commission report, published on 2 July 2008, recognised that millions of Europeans of Roma origin are subject to persistent discrimination and far-reaching social exclusion. The report urged better use of existing tools to combat these problems. In particular, it stressed the need for stronger cooperation between EU bodies, Member States and civil society. The report concluded that more could be done to make use of the powerful existing framework of legislative, fi- nancial and policy coordination tools available. In partic- ular it noted potential to promote inclusion by means of the EU’s Structural Funds, including the European Social Fund (ESF) and pre-accession instruments. For example, in 2000-2006, € 275 million of ESF funding was devoted to projects specifically targeted at Roma. 1.5.2. First EU Roma summit The first Roma Summit at EU level was held in Brussels on 16 September 2008. It was the first occasion of its kind for 400 representatives from EU institutions, na- tional governments and civil society organisations from around Europe to come together, discuss the situation of Roma communities in the EU and explore ways to im- prove it. High-level participation by EU institutions, global or- ganisations and Roma groups demonstrated commit- ment by all parties. The Commission was represented by four of its commissioners, including President Barroso and Vladimír Špidla. Other notable participants includ- ed George Soros, Chair of the Open Society Institute, 15
  16. 16. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 1.5.3. December 2008, Council Conclusions on inclusion of the Roma While the Commission took the lead in this process, ac- tion by national, regional and local authorities was need- ed to generate real progress on the ground. The Decem- ber 2008 European Council endorsed the comprehensive conclusions of the General Affairs Council meeting con- firming the Member States’ commitment to using the tools available, such as the Structural Funds, to support Roma inclusion and decided to stage a second Roma Summit under the Spanish Presidency on International Roma Day on 8 April 2010. 16
  17. 17. Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p Part II - Putting the law into practice 17
  18. 18. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 The 2000 Equality Directives were a legal milestone for anti-discrimination in Europe. Member States had different levels of equality legislation already in place, but the Equality Directives set a new minimum benchmark to be met by all EU members.3 This raised the level of protection, while reducing the inconsist- ency in the laws and the way they are applied across the EU. The European Commission takes account of the legit- imate differences between the legal and institutional traditions of the Member States and fully respects their right to choose their own ways of implementing the legislation. Notwithstanding this flexibility in the letter of the law, each Directive must be correctly and completely "transposed" in full. 2.1. Infringement procedures The Racial Equality Directive and the Employment Equal- ity Directive were due to be adopted into national law by 2 December 2003 for the 15 nations that were Mem- ber States in 2000, and by time of accession for the 12 countries that subsequently joined the EU in May 2004 and January 2007. For discrimination based on age and disability a possible deadline extension up to December 2006 was provided for. By 1 January 2007, all 27 Member States were therefore due to have fully "transposed" the two Equality Directives. Since gaps in legislation and concerns of incorrect trans- position remained, the Commission initiated infringe- ment procedures against a number of Member States between July 2006 and December 2008. 2.1.1. Racial Equality Directive How do infringement procedures work? Despite the efforts of all EU countries to implement the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC), not all national The European Commission first sends a "letter of formal notice" legislation fully conforms to its requirements. On 27 June explaining why it considers the Member State has incorrectly im- 2007, the European Commission sent a "reasoned opin- plemented the Directive into its national law. If the Member State ion" – the second stage of infringement procedures – to does not reply, or the reply is unsatisfactory, the Commission can 14 Member States. go to the next step of the infringement procedure by sending a "reasoned opinion", which sets out the legal arguments in more Problems were identified in three main areas: detail. Again, the Member State has two months to reply. If the Commission still considers that the Member State has incorrectly • National legislation limited in scope to the workplace; transposed the Directive, it can at this point refer the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The Court can declare • Definitions of discrimination that diverge from the Di- that a Member State did not comply with its EC law obligations rective, particularly in terms of indirect discrimination, by not transposing a Directive into national law, in a complete harassment and instruction to discriminate; and correct manner. • Inconsistencies in provisions designed to help victims, such as protection against victimisation, the sharing of the burden of proof and the rights of associations to 3 Also Directive 2004/113/EC addresses gender equality issues outside the field of employment and prohibits discrimination based on sex, including harassment and sexual engage in legal proceedings to help victims. harassment. Directive 2006/54 brings together different sex equality Directives prohibiting discrimination based on sex in access to employment, including promotion, and to vocational training, as well as working conditions, including pay and occupational social security schemes. 18
  19. 19. Pa r t I I - P u t t i n g t h e l a w i n t o p r a c t i c e Network of legal experts 2.2. Selected case law from the in the non-discrimination field European Court of Justice (ECJ) During the Community Action Programme to combat discrimi- nation, the Commission set up a network of legal experts to 2.2.1. Compulsory retirement keep abreast of new decisions and interpretations of the law (Age discrimination, United Kingdom) and to share knowledge and experience. In addition to the frequent publications produced by the network (page 31), on Case C-388/07, brought by the National Council for Ageing 25 November 2008, the Commission organised a legal seminar against the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and in Brussels, bringing together gender and anti-discrimination Regulatory Reform, related to UK legislation allowing em- legal experts. Workshops included legal aspects of positive ob- ployers to dismiss employees aged 65 or over on grounds ligations, indirect discrimination and multiple discrimination.4 of retirement. It was referred by a UK court to the ECJ on 9 August 2007. In his opinion, given on 23 September 2008, Advocate 2.1.2. Employment Equality Directive General Mazák pointed out that Article 6(1) of the Em- ployment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) does not re- "Letters of formal notice" regarding the Employment quire Member States to define the kinds of differences Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) were sent in Decem- of treatment that may be justified under it. He stressed ber 2006 to 17 Member States. Meanwhile, the proce- that the possibilities under the Directive of justifying dif- dure opened against two other Member States was ferences of treatment based on age are more extensive closed in December 2007, following the adoption of than those based on the other grounds mentioned in new legislation that responded to the European Com- Article 1. mission’s concerns. 4 In its ruling of the 5 March 2009, the European Court On 31 January 2008 the Commission sent a "reasoned of Justice held that Article 6 of Directive 2000/78 does opinion" to 10 Member States and a "letter of formal no- not preclude a national measure that does not contain tice" to a further Member State, requesting them to fully a precise list of the aims justifying derogation from the implement EU rules prohibiting discrimination in em- principle prohibiting discrimination on grounds of age. ployment and occupation on the grounds of religion and However, Article 6(1) offers the option to derogate only belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. The main problem areas included: • National legislation limited in terms of the people and areas it covered or exceptions broader than authorised by the Directive; • Definitions of discrimination that diverged from the Directive, particularly in terms of indirect discrimination, harassment and in- struction to discriminate; • Lack of proper implementation of the obli- gation for employers to provide reasonable accommodation for workers with disabili- ties; • Inconsistencies in provisions to help victims, such as with the "burden of proof", the rights of associations to assist individuals with their cases and protection against victimisation. 4 For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=681&langId=en&eventsId= 132&furtherEvents=yes 19
  20. 20. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 where justified by legitimate social policy objectives The ECJ went on to find that public statements of this na- (e.g. employment policy). It is for the national court to ture "are sufficient for a presumption of the existence of a ascertain the legitimacy and whether the means chosen recruitment policy which is directly discriminatory with- were appropriate and necessary. Member States must in the meaning of Article 8(1) of Directive 2000/43/EC". establish the legitimacy of the aim to a high standard It added that it is then "for that employer to prove that of proof. there was no breach of the principle of equal treatment". 2.2.2. Recruitment policy (Race/ethnic origin 2.2.3. Pension entitlement (Sexual orientation discrimination, Belgium) discrimination, Germany) Case C-54/07, involving the Belgian Centre for Equal Op- Case C-267/06, brought by Mr. Tadao Maruko against the portunities and Opposition to Racism and the company Versorgungsanstalt der deutschen Bühnen (German the- NV Firma Feryn, was judged by the ECJ Second Chamber atre pension fund), was judged by the Grand Chamber on 10 July 2008. on 1 April 2008. It related to an interpretation of the concept of "direct The compulsory occupational pension scheme for em- discrimination" under the Racial Equality Directive ployees in German theatre was limited to married persons (2000/43/EC) in a case where an employer had publicly and on these grounds Mr. Maruko had been refused pen- stated it would reject applications from persons of a cer- sion payments of his deceased, same-sex life partner. tain ethnic origin. The ECJ ruled that the statement con- stituted "direct discrimination in respect of recruitment The ECJ decided that these kinds of occupational pen- within the meaning of Article 2(2)(a) of Directive 2000/43/ sion schemes are to be classified as pay within the mean- EC" and that such statements would be likely to dissuade ing of Article 141 EC, as they originate from a collective certain candidates from applying and hinder their access agreement designed to supplement the social security to the labour market. benefits payable under national legislation. The ECJ ruled that in these circumstances a different treatment of life partnership constitutes in principle discrimination in the context of Article 2 of Directive 2000/78/EC. The refusal to grant the survivor the pen- sion of his /her life partner therefore constitutes direct discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, since only people of different sex can get married and only people of same sex can enter into a life partnership. However, this is conditional upon surviving spouses and surviving life partners being in a comparable situation as regards that pension under national law. The ECJ stat- ed this is an issue for the national court to determine. 2.2.4. Discrimination by association (Disability discrimination, United Kingdom) Case C-303/06, contested by Sharon Coleman and Attridge Law/Steve Law, was judged by the Grand Chamber on 17 July 2008. A former employee of At- tridge Law, Ms Coleman pursued a claim on account of unfavourable treatment as mother and primary carer of her disabled child. The ECJ therefore had to make an interpretation of prohibition of direct discrimina- tion and harassment in employment and occupation on grounds of disability pursuant to Article 2(2)(a) and 2(3) of Directive 2000/78/EC, especially the meaning of discrimination by association. 20
  21. 21. Pa r t I I - P u t t i n g t h e l a w i n t o p r a c t i c e The ECJ stated that "an interpretation of the Directive lim- iting its application only to people who are themselves disabled is liable to deprive the Directive of an important element of its effectiveness and to reduce the protection which it is intended to guarantee". It concluded that less fa- vourable treatment of the employee on account of her situ- ation as the primary carer of a disabled child was contrary to the prohibition of direct discrimination laid down by Article 2(2)(a). Using the same reasoning, the ECJ concluded that the same principle applied in relation to harassment. 2.3. The proposal for a new anti-discrimination Directive According to Article 13 of the EC treaty, the European Un- ion can act to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. However, EU-wide legal protection is not yet in place to deal with discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation beyond the labour market. Within the framework of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the European Commission announced that it intended to propose measures in mid-2008 to extend the existing legal framework which currently prohibits discrimination on these grounds in employment, occupation and vocational training but not in other areas of life. This took the form of a proposal for a Directive adopted on 2 July 2008.5 The draft Directive aims to implement the principle of equal treatment irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation outside the labour market. It establishes a uniform minimum level of protection within the European Union for people who have suffered discrimination. The draft Directive outlaws discrimination in social pro- in treatment, but only if such a difference can be justi- tection, including social security and health care, social fied by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that advantages, housing, education and access to and supply aim are appropriate and necessary. It includes the same of goods and services that are available to the public. Arti- provisions on positive action, defence of rights, burden cle 3 stipulates that the Directive does not affect national of proof, victimisation and sanctions as the other two laws relating to the secular nature of the State and its insti- Equality Directives and Article 13. It also stipulates the tutions, nor to the status of religious organisations. designation of equality bodies to promote the principle of equal treatment, as provided for in the Racial Equality The draft Directive prohibits direct and indirect dis- Directive. crimination and harassment and places the providers of goods and services under a duty of reasonable ac- At the time the draft Directive was announced, Euro- commodation, in accordance with the recently adopted pean Commissioner Vladimír Špidla commented: "At UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. present, there is an inequality in Community legislation As in the other two anti-discrimination directives, the itself because people are protected from discrimination Member States can choose to provide a higher level of outside the workplace only on grounds of gender and protection than the one introduced by the draft Direc- racial or ethnic origin. We must ensure equal treatment tive. In some cases the draft Directive allows difference for all grounds." 5 COM(2008)0426 21
  22. 22. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 2.4. Legal provision for Equality 2.4.1. Equinet: European Network of Equality bodies Bodies A number of national Equality Bodies cooperated in Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive provides for projects following the implementation of the Equality Di- the designation of bodies responsible for the promotion rectives, notably a two-year initiative under the Commu- of equal treatment on the grounds of racial and ethnic nity Action Programme to combat discrimination that was origin. A high number of Member States go further than designed to promote their cooperation. Now the coopera- this, firstly in terms of the grounds of discrimination they tion of equality bodies has grown into the formal network cover and secondly in terms of the powers they have to "Equinet"6, with a permanent secretariat established in combat discrimination. Brussels since late 2007. The network is supported by the European Commission via the PROGRESS programme. The minimum requirement on Member States is to have one or more bodies for the promotion of racial and By April 2009, Equinet was made up of 31 organisations ethnic origin equality, which provide independent as- from 28 European countries. The Czech Republic and sistance to victims of discrimination in pursuing their Poland have government observers as they do not have complaints about discrimination, conduct independ- equality bodies. Norway and Croatia are non-EU partici- ent surveys concerning discrimination and publish in- pants in the network. Equinet aims to help Equality Bodies dependent reports and recommendations on any issue fulfil their mandates by establishing a sustainable network relating to such discrimination. and resource base for the exchange of legal expertise, en- forcement strategies, training and best practice as well as Many Member States have extended the mandates of a platform for dialogue with the European institutions. their equality body or bodies, often beyond the mini- mum requirements of the Directives. 6 For further information : www.equineteurope.org 22
  23. 23. Pa r t I - Po l i c y a n d Pa r t n e r s h i p Part III - Communicating equality 23
  24. 24. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 3.1. European Year of Equal of Europeans were fully aware of their legal right to non- discrimination, this was a clear priority. And whether Opportunities for All targeting a business or general audience, a key feature of the EYEO was the aim to raise awareness about rights The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and to encourage respect of diversity. (EYEO) was an unprecedented and ambitious initiative to communicate and collaborate on equality issues. The With more than 430 national actions bringing about over 1997 Year Against Racism and 2003 Year for People with 1,600 activities to spread the messages of the EYEO, and Disabilities had already demonstrated commitment at over 1,700 other activities giving "moral support"7 to the European level to put equality at the top of the agenda. action, the Year can be considered a success. As a result, The 2007 Year took the level of ambition a step further, considerably more Europeans are aware of their rights to covering all discrimination grounds covered by Euro- non-discrimination. An estimated 370 million citizens were pean legislation over a truly pan-European geographical additionally reached by articles published in newspapers area: all 27 EU Member States and three countries of the and magazines on the Year’s activities, and there were also European Economic Area) – Iceland, Liechtenstein and nearly 900,000 visitors to the EYEO official website. Over Norway – were involved. 450 national event reports, publications and news items were published in 22 EU languages on the national infor- mation pages of the website, making country-specific in- formation accessible to all European citizens. 3.1.1. Year highlights The first ever European Equality summit took place in Berlin in 30-31 January 2007, also providing the platform for the launch of the Year. The summit brought together over 400 participants – including high-level government policy-makers, civil society representatives, employer and employee organisations. This set the ball rolling for heightened cooperation between all equality actors. As Closing of the EYO - Lisbon, November 2007 well as setting out ambitions for the Year itself, all par- ticipants stressed the need to use the momentum of the Year for a lasting legacy beyond its 12 months. The Di- versity Truck Tour, already a feature of the "For Diversity. Against Discrimination" campaign (page 25) of previous years, took the European Year to 32 cities in 19 countries, including the most recent Member States Bulgaria and Romania. The Truck Tour was an interactive way of bring- ing the messages of the EYEO to the people through road-show events. It also offered an excellent opportu- nity for public authorities, civil society, businesses and trade unions to strengthen ties through cooperation. Media, undoubtedly one of the most important multipli- ers in reaching the public, was honoured by the EYEO "Journalist award". After winning articles were selected from each country, an overall winner at European level Poland received the Honorary award for the best audiovisual entry was nominated: Maria do Céu Neves, from newspaper Diario de Noticias, for her exposé of treatment of migrant As well as having a broad topic and geographic scope, workers from Portugal and Poland in The Netherlands. A the Year aimed to reach out to all equality stakeholders. further special award was presented to Austrian journal- It was deemed crucial to strengthen the links between ist Maria Sterkl for her reportage on measures to support actors already working together and to reach out to new elderly migrant women in Vienna. organisations, companies and individuals. Another media avenue, MTV, took equality messages to Although the EYEO had a relatively modest budget of younger people. Its "creative competition" focused on € 15 million, it set out to reach as broad a European pub- lic as possible. Given the context that as few as one-third 7 Actions entitled to use the EYEO logo but which did not receive EU financing. 24
  25. 25. Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y celebrating diversity. School pupils from Ireland picked up the award for their poster design. On the grass-roots level, NGOs and social partners got together over the course of the Year for further coop- eration and networking. These actors have played a vital role in making the Year happen. They represented the public view on equality and gave a voice to victims of discrimination. 3.1.2. Year conclusions and legacy Under the motto "Celebrating 2007!" around 700 par- Truck tour 2008, stop in Jurmala (Latvia) ticipants from all 30 countries involved with the Euro- pean Year gathered in Lisbon on 19 and 20 November Campaigns can equip authorities, organisations and in- to close the Year with an official conference. It provided dividuals with the tools and knowledge to help defend the forum to draw conclusions from the Year and look people who face discrimination. forward to ensuring continuity of equality efforts. As well as recognising the achievements of the Year’s 3.2.1. "For Diversity. Against Discrimination" headline events, tribute was paid to the multitude of campaign events organised by groups such as equality associa- tions, small businesses and schools. These captured the Since 2003, the European Commission’s "For Diversity. spirit of the Year at local level. Against Discrimination" (FDAD) campaign8 has organ- ised activities to raise awareness of equality issues. The The Year certainly yielded good results in its main aims to campaign is characterised by cooperation between a make an impact at all levels. The Year gave the momen- wide range of stakeholders including public authorities tum for many steps forward in policy, not least the Com- in Member States, civil society and employer and em- mission’s own proposal for a new anti-discrimination Di- ployee organisations. rective in 2008. In 2007, several activities established during the FDAD campaign were taken up by the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. The Truck Tour and Journalist Award were among the initiatives under the banner of the Year, and these returned in 2008. Since national strategies for the Year were designed in The 2008 Truck Tour hit the road in Central and Eastern close cooperation with civil society, a sustained dialogue European Member States of the European Union. The tour was established with local authorities and policy-mak- delivered its own brand and blend of awareness-raising ers, thereby sowing the seeds of improved governance and entertainment across 20 stops in 10 countries. of equality issues for the future. In some countries, this was the first time that representatives of civil society and The Journalist Award, in its fifth year in 2008, was once again policy makers met to discuss issues such as discrimina- open to all Member States of the EU. The 2008 special award tion based on sexual orientation. was assigned for articles addressing Roma issues, in light of the particular discrimination problems faced by this group, Among the general public too, the Year made its mark. Ac- and the stepped-up efforts in 2008 to tackle them. cording to the 2008 Eurobarometer survey, up to 37 % of Europeans were aware that 2007 was the European Year of As in previous years, the FDAD campaign was strongly visual. Equal Opportunities for All – an impressive result. Young Europeans had the chance to get involved by submit- ting entries to a photo competition organised in cooperation with MTV. Top- 3.2. Awareness-raising rated photos were selected The value of awareness raising is hard to overestimate. for a calendar. Surveys have shown that Europeans are aware of dis- crimination being a problem, but relatively few know their legal rights. Awareness raising also supports action. 8 See http://www.stop-discrimination.info/ 25
  26. 26. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 3.2.2. National awareness-raising projects 3.2.3. Selected highlights There are clear benefits to running awareness-raising ac- German and Austrian awareness campaigns were among tivities. Under the 2000 Equality Directives, EU Member those reaching out to young people in particular. Ger- States also have a legal obligation to do so. The Europe- many’s campaign brought Roma and Sinti mediators an Commission first supported a round of such projects into schools. Young people had the chance to create in 2004 through the Community Action Programme to their own audio-visual material, which was then show- Combat Discrimination. Since then, Commission support cased. Austria’s workshop drew a diverse group of young has been a regular fixture and the number of projects people who created radio spots that were subsequently supported has grown. broadcast on national youth radio. On an annual basis the Commission asks national gov- Finland’s campaign was geared to the public sector ernments to submit proposals for projects. Each propos- among others, with activities and publications addressed al is then analysed and evaluated by the Commission to to the police force, healthcare sector, social services and ensure that the activity has clear added value, is coherent the military. and supports the implementation of EU equality policies and legislation. Latvia was among other countries targeting the media. "Latvia Equal in Diversity II (LED)" constituted a wide The Commission supported two rounds of national aware- and comprehensive campaign covering all prohibited ness-raising projects that organised activities in 2007-08. grounds of discrimination and reaching a wide target au- The first batch, selected in autumn 2006, consisted of dience. Courses were provided on equality issues to both 23 projects from 22 different European countries. These students of journalism and practising media profession- coincided with – and supported – the European Year of als, among others. Equal Opportunities. The Commission provided a total budget of € 4.5 million and supported up to 80% of project Denmark and Ireland brought a diversity message to the costs. A further round of 35 projects in 23 countries was workplace. The Danish Institute for Human Rights hosted approved in September 2007, and ran through 2008. a series of seminars with representatives from employer and employee organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises and non-governmental organisations. Ire- land and Northern Ireland - with the support of employ- ers’ organisations - joined forces to organise an "Anti-rac- ist Workplace Week", which is now an established annual event. The project developed and published resources for employers, including guidelines on setting up an equal employment policy or introducing positive action measures. 3.2.4. Belfast conference on communication The European annual thematic conference on anti-dis- crimination took place in Belfast on the 5-6 June 2008. The conference, organised by the European Commis- sion, was dedicated to the theme of communication and awareness-raising in the anti-discrimination and equality field. The event brought together representatives of run- ning national projects on awareness-raising and suc- cessful projects from the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, as well as relevant stakeholders. It allowed the project promoters to meet and to share with a wider audience their experience and ideas and to receive information about on-going developments in EU equality policies. The conference was an opportunity to discuss how best to promote messages of equality and diversity to 26
  27. 27. Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y various stakeholders, through various means. It also On average, awareness of the existence of anti-dis- offered training sessions on a number of communica- crimination laws was registered as quite low in the tion topics. European Union. Disability was the only type of dis- crimination known by more than half of the European A publication, "Communicating equality and non-dis- public to be prohibited by law when hiring new em- crimination in the European Union", was produced in as- ployees (51%). The public was least aware of legisla- sociation with the event. tion prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (30%) and age (31%). On average only one third of European Union citizens claimed to know their 3.2.5. Equal opportunities for all: What role for rights should they be the victim of discrimination or positive action? harassment (32%). The conference on "Equal opportunities for all: What role for positive action?", organised by the European Com- mission in collaboration with the Italian Department for Rights and Equal Opportunities, took place on 23-24 April 2007, in Rome. The European Commission organ- ised the event in cooperation with the Italian Depart- ment of Rights and Equal Opportunities to facilitate the exchange of experience on positive action in the context of the EU Equality Directives. While the Directives allow for, rather than demand positive action, many of the 120 participants felt that such measures were necessary in light of inequalities in society. One of the main concerns was the lack of data and statistical indicators in the field of non-discrimination. 3.3. Understanding discrimination: Eurobarometer surveys The follow-up Eurobarometer report published in July 2008 registered similar results. Discrimination because A crucial litmus test – in terms of subjective views and of a person’s racial or ethnic origin was still perceived to individual experiences of discrimination on the ground – be the most widespread form of discrimination. Gener- lies in the attitudes and opinions of the European public. ally however, discrimination was perceived as being on Two Eurobarometer surveys on attitudes to discrimina- a downward trend, and less widespread than five years tion were published in 2007-08. The first, published in previously. Disability in particular was considered less January 2007, was commissioned to coincide with the likely to hinder employment prospects than previous launch of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for surveys had suggested. Lack of knowledge of legal rights All (page 24), while the second Flash Eurobarometer in persisted, however. Most Europeans were supportive of February 2008 was carried out to back the adoption of taking action: between 65% and 83% were in favour the draft Directive. of measures against discrimination in the workplace, depending on the ground. In the first Eurobarometer survey discrimination was seen as commonplace, according to a large proportion of Europeans. In particular, over half of citizens ques- 3.4. The business case for diversity tioned considered discrimination on the basis of eth- nic origin, disability and sexual orientation to be wide- Companies both large and small face common challeng- spread. As many as 79% of respondents considered it a es to their business: globalisation, demographic change disadvantage in society to be disabled, 79% felt this was and an increasingly competitive climate. From late 2008, true also for Roma and 69% saw it as a disadvantage to the global economic downturn and credit crunch only be aged over 50. added to the difficulties faced by employers. Europeans were split on whether enough is being done Given the challenges, company leaders can ill-afford to to combat discrimination. On average, 51% of respond- limit the talent pool available to them by discriminat- ents thought that not enough effort is being made in ing. Beyond non-discrimination, the benefits of positive- their country to fight discrimination, while 45% took the thinking diversity policies are becoming increasingly opposite view. recognised by employers and their employees alike. 27
  28. 28. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 3.4.1. European Commission studies spotlight Formalising diversity policies has been found to increase benefits chances of attracting and retaining quality staff, ac- cording to managers that have taken the step. Diversity A Commission-supported study, published in Decem- policies can help to access new markets and customer ber 2008, followed up on a first research project in 2005. segments. In the case of SMEs, it is especially important It found that the benefit most commonly cited by em- that managers and owners make better use of available ployers with diversity policies is the increased capacity advice and information. to hire and retain the most talented employees. Effects on productivity were also positively gauged. 3.4.3. Diversity charters Innovation, the lifeblood of any company that wishes to stay a step ahead, was named as a further incentive. Formal diversity policies are becoming more common Diverse workforces are more likely to have diverse ideas in many European companies, especially in larger enter- and approaches that lead to a technical breakthrough or prises and corporations. Diversity charters, however, are successful product or service. Put simply, a diverse work- still a relatively new and localised phenomenon. As of force best reflects and serves the society and customer 2008 Diversity Charters existed in Germany, France and base a company operates in. the Brussels region of Belgium. While there are differences between these charters – 3.4.2. Smaller businesses Brussels has separate charters for public and private employers, for example – they share the same principles. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as The charters provide a formal recognition of a company’s having less than 250 employees, account for 75% of all commitment to equality issues. employees in Europe. While they may not have the time and resources of larger companies and corporations, Not all companies surveyed on diversity charters see the they too have much to gain from implementing strong need to sign up. But many that do take the step consider equality policies. that it sends a positive message within the company to staff, as well as paying dividends for the company’s repu- tation. Above all it also acts as a catalyst to take further steps to make diversity management part of the overall Continuing the diversity journey – Business management and business strategy. practices, perspectives and benefits ISSN: ????-???? Over 1,500 companies were surveyed for this study, which picks up the work carried out in the 2005 "Business case for diversity" re- port. This study looked more in depth at the motivations and pos- sible obstacles to diversity policies and having a more diverse workforce. The findings highlight a strong link between hav- ing a diverse workforce and a company’s capacity to create and innovate. Interviews with SMEs gave valuable insight, since small and medium-sized businesses account for 75% Continuing the Diversity Journey of all people employed in Europe. Time and resources are BUSINESS PRACTICES, PERSPECTIVES AND BENEFITS a problem for SMEs, but diversity – and its benefits – are as relevant to them as to bigger companies and corporations. It is vital therefore to promote already available tools and sup- port. The study also looks at how diversity training can play a role in business schools, which produce business leaders of the future as well as at how successful voluntary initiatives taken by business such as Diversity Charters. European Commission 28
  29. 29. Pa r t I I I - C o m m u n i c a t i n g e q u a l i t y Conclusion and Annexes 29
  30. 30. EU action against discrimination – Activity repor t 2007-08 Conclusion The years 2007-08 were clearly key in strengthening A more equal society must be achieved in an increasingly efforts against discrimination and in favour of diversity. challenging economic and social context. The fallout of the The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the financial crisis will be felt for some time to come. In this con- new PROGRESS programme, closer cooperation between text it is essential that issues sometimes identified as facing actors and stepped-up efforts to raise awareness were all "minorities" are recognised as being intrinsically relevant to key elements. each and every person in the EU. Europe must embrace the skills and diversity of all its people in order to best chart a However, all involved in the fight against discrimination course out of the current economic and social difficulties. are under no illusions about the task that follows. While extended European legislation is in the pipeline, there are still discrepancies in the protection currently offered by equality laws at national level. Many people are also still unaware of their rights, an essential precondition to being able to defend them. A stronger policy framework and potentially extended legal framework are principally tools towards an end more than results in themselves. The real proof of the further ground- work carried out in 2007-08 will be in how soon – and to what extent – it helps to deliver better equality in practice. Truck tour 2008. 30

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