Tag Archives: Anti-discriminatory measure

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Summary

The regulation on the rights of persons with reduced mobility when using air transport prohibits operators from refusing reservation or boarding to persons because of their reduced mobility or disability *.

There are certain exceptions and derogations, however, particularly for justified safety reasons established by law. An air carrier may refuse to accept a reservation from or to embark a person with reduced mobility or request that a travelling person with reduced mobility or disability must be accompanied by another person, in order to meet applicable safety requirements duly established by law or if the size of the aircraft makes it physically impossible to embark that person.

Within five working days of refusing a reservation or embarkation or requiring a person with reduced mobility or disability to be accompanied, the air carrier must inform in writing the person concerned of its reasons for doing so.

Persons with reduced mobility or disability are entitled to receive the assistance specified in the regulation free of charge in airports (on departure, arrival and during transit) and on board aircrafts (for example, the transport of wheelchairs and the carriage of guide dogs for the blind).

The managing bodies of airports should provide this assistance and may fund the services by levying a specific charge on airlines.

European Union (EU) countries and other concerned countries (European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries) will be required to lay down penalties for infringements and to set up independent bodies to deal with complaints.

The Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2010 at the latest on the implementation and effects of the regulation.

Key terms used in the act
  • “Disabled person” or “person with reduced mobility”: any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006

15.8.2006

26.7.2008

(Articles 3 and 4: 26.7.2007)

OJ L 204, 26.7.2006

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning and effects of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air [COM(2011) 166 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The report concluded that Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 has brought advantages to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (PRM); in particular a single framework of protection, a clear division of tasks between airports and air carriers, and the establishment of a network of National Enforcement Bodies (NEB) in all EU countries.
The Commission did, however, find some difficulties in applying the regulation which might weaken its impact. These problem areas include:

  • a sometimes insufficient quality of service provided and inadequate adaption to PRM’s individual needs;
  • insufficient information provided to passengers;
  • fragile and expensive handling mobility equipment;
  • restrictions on accepting reservations from or embarking PRMs on the grounds of safety;
  • insufficient in-flight assistance by the air carriers, in particular in moving to toilet facilities;
  • conflicting interpretations of the definition of mobility equipment that must be carried free of charge by the air carriers;
  • disparities in the implementation of the regulation between EU countries;
  • disagreements over the amount of and the method of calculating and imposing charges;
  • difficulty in interpreting certain important definitions, such as whether pregnant women, overweight people or young children are included in the definition of persons with reduced mobility;
  • transporting and supplying medical oxygen.

As the initial assessment finds that the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 is overall positive, a legislative review is not necessary at this stage. The Commission does, however, propose a number of axes of improvement within the existing framework, including:

  • a uniform interpretation of the regulation;
  • improving how the regulatory instruments work in practice;
  • strengthening the efficacy of the penalities and their supervision by national authorities;
  • handling the issue of the transport and supply of medical oxygen.

Communication from the Commission of 7 August 2008 on the scope of the liability of air carriers and airports in the event of destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment of passengers with reduced mobility when travelling by air [COM(2008) 510 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Based on the “Study on the compensation thresholds for damaged or lost equipment and devices belonging to air passengers with reduced mobility” launched by the Commission, this communication presents the current challenges faced by persons with reduced mobility when their mobility equipment is lost or damaged, as well as the solutions provided by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006.
In terms of quantitative objectives, the aim is to reduce the number of incidents regarding mobility equipment. To this end, the regulation establishes the legal obligation for airlines and airports to design procedures for and train staff on the assistance of people with reduced mobility. As a qualitative objective, the aim is to minimise the consequences of an incident. In this regard, there is:

  • a lack of common procedures that would lead to an immediate solution, which is covered in part by the regulation;
  • disparity in the nature and limits of the liability between airlines and airports, to whom an obligation of compensation that conforms to international, EU and national law is bestowed by the regulation;
  • the problem of inadequate compensations and procedures; however, the regulation should diminish the amount of incidents and their consequences, which are currently already rather minimal;
  • a question on the definition of “baggage” and the role of mobility equipment thereof, for which the Commission aims to launch discussions within the ICAO, so that mobility equipment is either excluded from the definition or the liability limits imposed on “baggage” by international conventions are amended in view of levelling out compensations on destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment with the actual value of that equipment.

Following the future assessment of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, if enough progress has not been achieved, the Commission will propose improvements to the current legislative framework regarding the rights of persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 [Official Journal L 46 of 17.02.2004].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: “Protection of air passengers in the European Union” [COM(2000) 365 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Internal market in gas

Internal market in gas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internal market in gas

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Energy > Internal energy market

Internal market in gas (from March 2011)

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Directive aims at introducing common rules for the transmission, distribution, supply and storage of natural gas. It concerns mainly natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), biogas and gas from biomass.

Rules for the organisation of the sector

The rules for the organisation of the sector are aimed at creating a competitive, secure and environmentally sustainable market in natural gas.

Member States may impose on undertakings operating in the gas sector public service obligations which cover issues of security and security of supply, regularity and quality of service, price, environmental protection and energy efficiency.

Member States shall ensure that all customers have the right to choose their gas supplier and to change supplier easily, with their operator’s assistance, within three weeks. They shall also ensure that customers receive relevant consumption data.

Member States are responsible for monitoring security of supply issues and in particular those related to the balance of supply and demand on the national market, available supplies, maintenance of the networks and the measures to be taken in the event of supply problems. Regional or international cooperation may be put in place to ensure security of supply.

Member States shall ensure the integration of national markets at one or more regional levels, as a first step towards the integration of a fully liberalised internal market. The gas islands in isolated regions shall also be integrated. In this context, the national regulatory authorities shall cooperate with the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

Transmission, storage and LNG

From 3 March 2012, Member States shall unbundle transmission systems and transmission system operators.

An undertaking must first be certified before being officially designated as a transmission system operator. A list of transmission system operators designated by Member States shall then be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

In addition, Member States shall designate one or more storage and LNG system operators responsible for:

  • operating, maintaining and developing transmission systems, storage and/or LNG facilities with due regard to the environment;
  • ensuring non-discrimination between system users;
  • providing information to any other transmission system operator, any other storage system operator, any other LNG system operator and/or any distribution system operator to ensure the interconnection of the transmission and storage of natural gas;
  • providing system users with the information they need to access the system.

Transmission system operators shall build sufficient cross-border capacity to integrate the European transmission infrastructure. Every year, they shall submit to the regulatory authority a ten-year network development plan indicating the main infrastructure that needs to be built or modernised as well as the investments to be executed over the next ten years.

Distribution and supply

Member States shall designate distribution system operators or require undertakings which own or are responsible for distribution systems to do so.

Distribution system operators are mainly responsible for:

  • ensuring the long-term capacity of the system in terms of the distribution of gas, operation, maintenance, development and environmental protection;
  • ensuring transparency with respect to system users;
  • providing system users with information;
  • covering energy losses and maintaining reserve capacity.

The distribution system operator shall be independent in legal terms from other activities not relating to distribution.

Distribution systems responsible for distributing natural gas within a geographically confined industrial, commercial or shared services site may be classified by the competent authorities as closed distribution systems. On this basis, they may be exempted from the requirement to have their tariffs, or the methodologies underlying their calculation, approved in advance.

Unbundling and transparency of accounts

Member States and the competent authorities shall have right of access to the accounts of natural gas undertakings but shall preserve the confidentiality of certain information.

Natural gas undertakings shall keep separate accounts for all of their activities relating to the supply of gas, such as transmission and distribution.

Organisation of access to the system

Member States or the competent regulatory authorities shall define the conditions for access to storage facilities and linepack. They shall take measures to ensure that eligible customers can obtain access to upstream pipeline networks. Moreover, they shall organise a system of third party access to transmission and distribution systems.

Natural gas undertakings may refuse access to the system on the basis of lack of capacity or where access to the system would compromise the performance of their public service obligations. Substantiated reasons shall be given for any such a refusal.

Final provisions

A Member State may take the necessary safeguard measures in the event of a sudden crisis in the market or where the safety of persons is threatened. These measures shall be notified to the other Member States and to the Commission.

This Directive repeals Directive 2003/55/EC as from 3 March 2011.

Context

The 2007 Commission Communications entitled “Prospects for the internal gas and electricity market” and “Sector inquiry into the gas and electricity markets” highlighted the inadequacy of the rules and measures in force relating to the internal market in gas in meeting the objectives laid down for the proper functioning of the internal market. The adoption of new rules was required.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/73/EC

3.9.2009

3.3.2011

OJ L211 of 14.8.2009

Gender equality in the labour market

Gender equality in the labour market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Gender equality in the labour market

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Gender equality in the labour market

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast) [Official Journal L 204 of 26.7.2006].

Summary

Equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of European law which applies to all aspects of life in society, including to the world of work.

Equality in employment and working conditions

This Directive prohibits direct or indirect discrimination * between men and women concerning the conditions of:

  • recruitment, access to employment and self-employment;
  • dismissals;
  • vocational training and promotion;
  • membership of workers’ or employers’ organisations.

In addition, the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (Article 157) prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex on matters of pay for the same work or work of equal value. This principle also applies to job classification systems used for determining pay.

However, different treatment for men and women may be justified by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activity, if the measures taken are legitimate and proportionate.

Member States shall encourage employers and vocational trainers to act against discrimination on grounds of sex, and particularly against harassment and sexual harassment *.

Equality in social protection

Women and men are treated equally under occupational social security schemes, particularly concerning:

  • the scope and conditions of access to the schemes;
  • the contributions;
  • the calculation of benefits, including supplementary benefits, and the conditions governing the duration and retention of entitlement.

This principle applies to the whole working population, including:

  • self-employed workers, however for this category Member States may provide for different treatment, in particular concerning the age of retirement;
  • workers whose activity is interrupted by illness, maternity, accident or involuntary unemployment;
  • persons seeking employment, retired and disabled workers, and those claiming under them.

Parental leave

At the end of maternal, paternal or adoption leave, employees have the right to:

  • return to their jobs or to equivalent posts on conditions which are no less favourable to them;
  • benefit from any improvement in working conditions to which they would have been entitled during their absence.

Defence of rights

Member States must put in place remedies for employees who have been victims of discrimination, such as conciliation and judicial procedures. In addition, they shall take the necessary measures to protect employees and their representatives against adverse treatment as a reaction to a complaint within the undertaking or to any legal proceedings.

Lastly, they shall establish penalties and reparation or compensation possibilities in relation to the damage sustained.

In the case of legal proceedings, the burden of proof is on the party accused of discrimination who must prove that there has been no breach of the principle of equal treatment.

Promoting equal treatment

Member States appoint bodies whose role it is to promote, analyse and monitor equal treatment, to ensure that the legislation is followed and also to provide support to victims of discrimination.

In addition, enterprises must promote the principle of gender equality and strengthen the role of social partners and non-governmental organisations.

Key terms of the Act
  • Direct discrimination: where one person is treated less favourably on grounds of sex than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation.
  • Indirect discrimination: where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of one sex at a particular disadvantage compared with persons of the other sex, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
  • Harassment: where unwanted conduct related to the sex of a person occurs with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
  • Sexual harassment: where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2006/54/EC

15.8.2006

15.8.2008

OJ L 204, 26.7.7

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Report on equality between women and men – 2009

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 February 2009 – Equality between women and men – 2009 [COM(2009) 77 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The sixth Commission report sets out the main progress made in promoting equality between women and men in 2008. In view of the current demographic and economic challenges, the participation of women is an essential contribution to growth, employment and social cohesion in the European Union (EU).

In 2008, the rate of employment for women was close to the objectives set by the Lisbon strategy (60 % in 2010). However, the proportion varies between 36.9 % and 73.2 % according to the Member State. Moreover, women are overrepresented in precarious, short-term or part-time jobs.

They are more exposed than men to situations of poverty. This is the case for 32 % of single mothers and 21 % of women over the age of 65.

The average gap in employment rates between women and men is narrowing, and fell from 17.1 % in 2000 to 14.2 % in 2007. However, the sharing of family responsibilities remains unequal, and the employment rate of women with children falls by 12.4 percentage points whilst in the same situation that of men increases by 7.3 points.

Most qualifications in the EU (58.9 %) are obtained by women. However, their level of education does not reflect their situation on the labour market, where they are limited in terms of career development, remuneration and pension rights.

The number of female managers is quite small. The European average is 30 %. However the figure is lower than this in the majority of Member States.

Developments in regulations

In 2008, the Commission initiated infringement proceedings against certain Member States, concerning the transposition of Directive 2002/73/EC (on access to employment, vocational training and promotion) and Directive 2004/113/EC (on equal treatment in the access to goods and services).

The Commission is examining the effectiveness of existing legislation as regards equality of remuneration between men and women. It may propose, if necessary, new regulations on tackling the pay gap related to gender.

Many provisions have been adopted in order to promote reconciliation between working and family life. The Commission proposes the amendment of Directive 92/85/EEC on maternity protection, in particular by introducing an increase in minimum maternity leave to 18 weeks. These provisions should be extended, on a voluntary basis, to the self-employed and their assisting spouses. Social partners have started negotiations concerning parental leave and leave for family reasons, in addition to maternity leave, and have reached agreement. The Commission has adopted a proposal aimed at implementing this agreement through a directive. The Commission has also presented a report on childcare systems, the development of which is still insufficient in a large number of Member States.

The Council of June 2008 adopted conclusions aimed at encouraging the involvement of women in political decision-making and the elimination of sexist prejudice in society.

Strategic orientations

The contribution of equality policies to economic development, particularly in a context of economic slowdown. Changes to achieve real equality depend on removing the differences and barriers which limit the employment and the professional development of women.

The report highlights in particular the importance of:

  • reconciling family life and professional life, in particular through the sharing of parental responsibility and the development of childcare services;
  • combating stereotypes related to gender, through awareness-raising campaigns and the role of the media;
  • increasing the participation of women in decision-making positions and their representation in electoral processes by various means;
  • communication aimed at public opinion and improving understanding of the problems of equality between men and women at all levels of society.

Strengthening the commitment to equality between women and men: a women’s charter

Strengthening the commitment to equality between women and men: a women’s charter

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening the commitment to equality between women and men: a women’s charter

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Strengthening the commitment to equality between women and men: a women’s charter

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 5 March 2010 – A Strengthened Commitment to Equality between Women and Men – A Women’s Charter: Declaration by the European Commission on the occasion of the 2010 International Women’s Day in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the adoption of a Declaration and Platform for Action at the Beijing UN World Conference on Women and of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [COM(2010) 78 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This political declaration reiterates the Commission’s commitment to equality between women and men in the European Union (EU) and throughout the world.

The Commission highlights the necessity to take gender equality into account in all of its policies. The Charter thus proposes five specific fields of action.

Fields of action for equality between women and men

Economic independence, which should be achieved in particular by combating discrimination, educational stereotypes, labour market segregation, precarious employment conditions, involuntary part-time work and the unbalanced sharing of care responsibilities with men. The Commission commits to ensure the full realisation of women’s potential and the full use of their skills. Its action should facilitate a better gender distribution on the labour market and allow the number of quality jobs for women to be increased.

Equal pay for women and men (for equal work or work of equal value), which is not effective in the EU. The Commission commits to fight against pay gaps by mobilising all available instruments, including legislative instruments.

The representation of women in decision-making and positions of power, positions where they are still under-represented in comparison to men, in the public and private sectors. The Commission undertakes to act for fairer representation of women, in particular by adopting incentives at EU level.

Respect for women’s dignity and integrity, but also an end to gender-based violence, including harmful customary or traditional practices. The Charter reiterates the Commission’s commitment to fundamental rights. The Commission’s action is specifically aimed at eliminating inequality in access to healthcare and eradicating all forms of gender-based violence. It may have recourse to the provisions of criminal law, within the limits of its powers.

External action of the EU as regards equality between women and men should enable the development of sustainable and democratic societies to be supported. The Commission undertakes to defend equality between women and men in its relations with third countries. It is to carry out awareness-raising actions, cooperation with competent international and regional organisations, and will support State and Non-State actors.

Context

The Charter was adopted on the occasion of the 2010 International Women’s Day and the 15th anniversary of the World Conference on Women.

In September 2010, the Commission adopted a 2010-2015 strategy for equality between women and men. This strategy should form a framework for the coordination of action in all areas of EU activities.

Part-time working

Part-time working

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Part-time working

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Part-time working

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time working concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC. [See amending acts].

Summary

The purpose of the Directive is to implement the framework agreement on part-time work concluded on 6 June 1997 by the general cross-industry organisations (UNICE, CEEP, ETUC).

Content of the framework agreement

The purpose of the agreement is to eliminate discrimination against part-time workers * and to improve the quality of part-time work. It also aims to facilitate the development of part-time work on a voluntary basis and to contribute to the flexible organisation of working time in a manner which takes into account the needs of employers and workers.

The agreement applies to part-time workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship as defined by the laws, collective agreements or practices in force in each Member State.

Employment conditions

In respect of employment conditions, part-time workers may not be treated in a less favourable manner than comparable full-time workers * solely because they work part-time, unless different treatment is justified on objective grounds.

The social partners and/or Member States after consulting the social partners may, where appropriate, make access to particular conditions of employment subject to a period of service, time worked or earnings qualification.

Access to part-time work

The social partners and/or Member States after consulting the social partners should identify and review obstacles which may limit the opportunities for part-time work and, where appropriate, eliminate them.

Needs of employers and workers

A worker’s refusal to transfer from full-time to part-time work or vice versa should not in itself constitute a valid reason for dismissal.

Wherever possible, employers should give consideration to:

  • requests by workers to transfer from full-time to part-time work that becomes available in the establishment;
  • requests by workers to transfer from part-time to full-time work or to increase their working time should the opportunity arise;
  • the provision of timely information on the availability of part-time and full-time jobs in the establishment;
  • measures to facilitate access to part-time work at all levels of the enterprise;
  • the provision of appropriate information to workers’ representatives about part-time working in the enterprise.

More favourable provisions

Member States and/or social partners can maintain or introduce more favourable provisions than set out in the agreement. Implementation of the provisions of the agreement does not constitute valid grounds for reducing the general level of protection afforded to workers in the field of the agreement.

Background

Member States must bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive within two years of its entry into force, or ensure that the social partners have, by that date, introduced the necessary measures by agreement. Member States may have a maximum of one more year, if necessary to take account of special difficulties or implementation by a collective agreement. They must inform the Commission forthwith in such circumstances.

Directive 98/23/EC extends Directive 97/81/EC to the United Kingdom.

Key terms used in the act
  • Part-time worker: an employee whose normal hours of work, calculated on a weekly basis or on average over a period of employment of up to one year, are less than the normal hours of work of a comparable full-time worker.
  • Comparable full-time worker: a full-time worker in the same establishment having the same type of employment contract or relationship, who is engaged in the same or a similar work/occupation.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 97/81/EC 20.1.1998 20.1.2000 OJ L 14 of 20. 1. 1998
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 98/23/EC 25.5.1998 7.4.2000 OJ L 131 of 5. 5. 1998

Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries

Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Threats to health

Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries (2009-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 October 2009 – Combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries, 2009-2013 [COM(2009) 569 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication presents the European Commission’s action plan to combat HIV/AIDS for the period 2009-2013. It is a complementary measure to the European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011).

Current situation of HIV in Europe

The prevalence rate of HIV infection is estimated at between 0.1 % and 1.2 % in Europe, depending on the State. This Communication notes an alarming rise in the spread of the virus, mainly in the east of the continent. Furthermore, it notes differences between the means of contamination:

  • mainly sexual transmission in countries in the west of the European Union;
  • mainly through injecting drug use in Eastern Europe and in some neighbouring countries *.

Vulnerable groups (who are most likely at risk of infection) are mainly:

  • injecting drug users;
  • men having sex with men;
  • women;
  • sex workers.

Between 30 % and 50 % of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the EU, and up to 70 % in European neighbouring countries, are unaware of their HIV status. Moreover, access to care and prevention measures is still limited and varies according to the country.

Objectives of the EU 2009-2013 Action Plan

The EU action plan on combating HIV/AIDS aims at:

  • contributing to reducing the number of new infections in all European countries by 2013;
  • improving access to prevention, treatment, care and support;
  • improving quality of life for people living with, affected by or vulnerable to the virus.

In order to meet these objectives, the European Commission proposes to act in the following areas:

  • political leadership: the Commission intends to link the response to HIV/AIDS with the socio-economic priorities in political strategies at country level. It invites all stakeholders to take account of HIV when implementing policies, legislation and EU agreements.
  • involvement of civil society and people living with HIV/AIDS: the Commission encourages Civil Society organisations, as well as associations representing PLWHA and people affected by the virus to participate in combating HIV in the EU and neighbouring countries. For this reason, the Civil Society Forum should be maintained, as should the HIV/AIDS Think Tank.
  • society responsibilities and human rights: it is crucial to ensure that the human rights of persons with HIV status are respected, and that prejudice and stigmatisation of such persons is halted. To this end, the Commission plans to step up awareness-raising efforts and public information campaigns, and to improve training on HIV in social and public health sectors.
  • universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support: the Commission wishes to help develop strategies aimed at improving access for all to safe and affordable antiretroviral medicines, such as structural funds or social funds. It intends to support UNAIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Priority areas and groups at risk

The Communication defines the most affected regions as a priority, particularly the area including Eastern European countries that are the subject of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Although the virus tends now to be transmitted more and more by heterosexual means, the most affected groups are still:

  • men having sex with men;
  • injecting drug users;
  • migrants from countries with a high rate of HIV-infected people.

The Commission considers that it is crucial to improve prevention among these groups and in these areas, as well as the treatment of co-infections such as tuberculosis or hepatitis.

Surveillance and research

HIV/AIDS surveillance for Europe is carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in cooperation with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and by UNAIDS. The Commission invites the Member States to apply the Decision introducing a network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases in order to collect more robust and comprehensive data.

The Commission intends to encourage HIV research through the framework programme for research and the programme in the field of health. It also plans to support investments towards the development and implementation of innovative preventive and therapeutic interventions.

Key terms of the Act
  • Neighbouring countries: the Russian Federation, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Renewed commitment for non-discrimination and equal opportunities

Renewed commitment for non-discrimination and equal opportunities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Renewed commitment for non-discrimination and equal opportunities

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society

Renewed commitment for non-discrimination and equal opportunities

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 2 July 2008 – Non-discrimination and equal opportunities: A renewed commitment [COM(2008) 420 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This communication renews the Commission’s commitment to fight against discrimination and to promote equal opportunities by establishing a comprehensive approach to step up action to that end. It also presents the developments in the legal framework against discrimination and in the policy tools for promoting equal opportunities.

An effective legal framework, which is properly enforced, is paramount to fighting discrimination and to guaranteeing efficient systems of redress for victims. Hence, the Commission is committed to monitoring the Member States implementation of the existing legal framework, which consists of Council Directives:

  • 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin;
  • 2008/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation;
  • 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services.

The Commission reported on the implementation of the first two directives in 2006 and 2008, whereas a report on the 2004 directive is expected for 2010. Overall, the implementation of the directives has been perceived as positive. Nevertheless, approximately half of the Member States have not fulfilled their obligations in terms of scope, definitions or provisions on victims’ assistance.

The Commission is also involved in facilitating the cooperation and information exchanges between, as well as the capacity-building of, national equality bodies. These bodies are particularly important in informing and assisting victims in dispute resolutions. Based on their work, the Commission will examine whether penalties and time limits for brining actions before courts are effective at the national level.

At the European level, however, the existing legal framework for fighting discrimination is incomplete, the scope of protection differing from ground to ground. Consequently, the Commission published, together with this communication, a proposal for a directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008) 426), which aims to complete the legal framework on anti-discrimination. The directive will prohibit all forms of discrimination and harassment on the above-mentioned grounds beyond the workplace and provide appropriate redress systems for victims throughout the European Union (EU).

A range of policy tools are also needed to complement the legal framework, in order to promote equal opportunities effectively. The Commission is committed to strengthening the:

  • mainstreaming of non-discrimination into all Community policies, building in particular on the achievements of the EU’s disability strategy and the roadmap for equality between women and men for 2006-10;
  • measuring of discrimination and evaluating of progress, to which end it will examine whether the regular collection of statistics on the scale and impact of discrimination and the establishment of a EU-survey module on discrimination are feasible;
  • use of positive action by Member States, especially to enhance equal opportunities for access to education, employment, housing and health care;
  • awareness-raising and training activities on current legislation for the main stakeholders by providing them with further support. It will also continue its EU information campaign ‘For Diversity – Against Discrimination’;
  • promotion of the benefits of diversity at the workplace by encouraging the development of voluntary EU-wide initiatives, further collaboration between businesses and educational institutions, and improving diversity management in public administrations at all levels.

The dialogue on non-discrimination and equal opportunities among relevant stakeholders, which was launched with the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007), will be continued on an annual basis through the equality summits. In addition, a governmental expert group on non-discrimination has been established to carry out impact assessments on and develop benchmarks for measures and policies, as well as to substantiate best practice. One of its first themes of work will be multiple discrimination.

The Commission feels that it is also important to take into consideration the particular concerns of specific groups, such as that of the Roma. The Commission staff working document on community instruments and policies for Roma inclusion, which accompanies this communication, responds to that need.

Equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin

Equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society

Equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.

Summary

This Directive is based on the principle of equal treatment between persons. It forbids all direct * or indirect * discrimination based on race or ethnic origin, as well as harassment * and any behaviour which makes one person discriminate against another person.

The Directive applies to all persons and to all sectors of activity, regarding:

  • access to employment and to unpaid activities, specifically during recruitment;
  • working conditions, including concerning hierarchical promotion, pay and dismissals;
  • access to vocational training;
  • involvement in workers’ or employers’ organisations, and in any professional organisation;
  • access to social protection and to health care;
  • education;
  • social advantages, access to goods and services, particularly housing.

The Directive does not cover difference of treatment based on nationality, or the conditions of entry and residence for citizens from third countries in the European Union (EU).

Derogations from the principle of equal treatment

In the field of employment, a derogation may be authorised where race or ethnic origin constitutes a fundamental professional requirement. This derogation must be justifiable by the nature of the activity and the conditions under which it is exercised. It must be legitimate and proportionate.

Lastly, the directive does not oppose positive action, namely national measures aimed at preventing or compensating for disadvantages connected with race or ethnic origin.

Remedies and enforcement

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a failure to comply with the principle of equal treatment must be able to access legal and/or administrative procedures, even if the relationship in question has ended. Associations or other interested legal persons may also undertake judicial proceedings either on behalf of or in support of the complainant.

The burden of proof falls on the party accused, who must prove that the principle of equal treatment has not been infringed. The complainant must be protected against any adverse treatment or adverse consequence as a reaction to the proceedings.

Social dialogue and civil dialogue

The social partners ensure the promotion of equal treatment, specifically by monitoring practices in the workplace, producing codes of conducts and concluding collective agreements. More generally, the Directive encourages the conclusion of agreements establishing non-discrimination rules in the fields which fall within the scope of collective bargaining.

Civil dialogue with the civil society organisations concerned is also encouraged.

Bodies for the promotion of the principle

Each Member Sates must establish at least one body dedicated to combating discrimination, in particular responsible for helping victims and conducting independent studies.

Context

This Directive is supplemented by the provisions on equal treatment in employment and occupation

The Treaty of Lisbon (Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU) provides the EU with a legal basis to combat all forms of discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Key terms
  • Direct discrimination: decimation caused where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable.
  • Indirect discrimination: discrimination caused where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice is likely to put someone at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons, unless it is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
  • Harassment: unwanted conduct with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The concept of harassment may be defined in accordance with the national laws and practice of the Member States.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2000/43/EC

19.7.2000

19.7.2003

OJ L 180 of 19.7.2000

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 30 October 2006 – The application of Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin [COM(2006) 643 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Fundamental rights and citizenship

Fundamental rights and citizenship

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fundamental rights and citizenship

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Human rights > Fundamental rights within the European Union

Fundamental rights and citizenship (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/252/EC of 19 April 2007 establishing for the period 2007-2013 the specific programme “Fundamental rights and citizenship” as part of the General programme “Fundamental Rights and Justice”.

Summary

This decision establishes the programme “Fundamental rights and citizenship”, which is intended to promote the development of a European society based on respect for fundamental rights. To this end, the programme provides for actions conducted by the European Commission, European Union (EU) countries and non-governmental organisations.

A European society based on respect for fundamental rights

The programme supports the development of a European society based on respect for the fundamental rights recognised in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, including the rights resulting from citizenship of the Union. For this purpose, the programme aims to:

  • strengthen civil society and encourage an open, transparent and regular dialogue on fundamental rights;
  • combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism;
  • promote better understanding between religions and cultures;
  • promote increased tolerance in the whole of the EU;
  • strengthen contacts, exchanges of information and networks between the judicial and administrative authorities and the legal professions;
  • encourage judicial training in order to improve mutual understanding between the abovementioned authorities and professions.

Furthermore, the specific objectives of the programme are to:

  • promote fundamental rights and inform all citizens about their rights, including those resulting from EU citizenship;
  • encourage EU citizens to participate actively in the democratic life of the Union;
  • examine respect for fundamental rights in the EU and its countries when Union law is implemented;
  • support non-governmental organisations and other bodies of civil society so that they can actively promote fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy;
  • create the relevant structures to promote inter-faith and multicultural dialogue at EU level.

Specific actions to achieve the objectives of the programme

The programme provides for actions conducted by the Commission, the authorities of EU countries and non-governmental organisations. It also provides for grants following requests for proposals.

The types of actions comprise the following:

  • specific actions conducted by the Commission (studies and research work, polls and investigations, conferences and meetings of experts, organising actions and public events, creating and running websites, developing and distributing information media, etc.);
  • transnational projects of EU interest presented by an authority or a body of an EU country or an international or non-governmental organisation. At least two EU countries or at least one EU country and a candidate country or an acceding country must participate in these projects;
  • support for non-governmental organisations or other bodies pursuing objectives of general European interest that are covered by the programme;
  • operating subsidies for the joint financing of the expenses connected with the permanent working programme of the Conference of the European Constitutional Courts and of the Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union. These bodies manage a number of databases that gather together national decisions relating to the implementation of Union law. The expenses must be incurred for an objective of general European interest.

A programme for citizens

The programme is addressed to EU nationals and nationals of non-EU countries who are lawfully resident within the territory of the Union. It is also addressed to citizens of the participating countries (acceding countries, candidate countries and the countries of the Western Balkans participating in the stabilisation and association process). Other target groups are organisations of civil society and other groups that defend the objectives of the programme.

Provided that they are established in the EU or in one of the non-EU countries participating in the programme, access to the programme is open to the following entities:

  • public or private institutions and bodies;
  • universities;
  • research institutes;
  • non-governmental organisations;
  • national, regional or local authorities;
  • international organisations;
  • other non-profit-making organisations.

The programme makes possible joint activities with competent international organisations in the field of fundamental rights, such as the Council of Europe.

Monitoring and implementing the programme

Every year, the Commission publishes a list of the actions financed under this programme. The available budgetary resources are entered annually in the general budget of the EU. The available annual credits are authorised by the budgetary authority (the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union) within the limits of the financial framework.

The Commission shall ensure that the beneficiary presents technical and financial reports on the state of progress of the work in respect of any action financed by the programme, as well as a final report within three months of the end of the action. Furthermore, the Commission ensures that the EU’s financial interests are protected by applying preventive measures against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity.

The Commission will present an annual stocktaking of the implementation of the programme, an intermediate report assessing the results obtained (by 31 March 2011 at the latest), a communication on the continuation of the programme (by 30 August 2012 at the latest) and an assessment report after the programme finishes (by 31 December 2014 at the latest).

Complementarity with other EU programmes

This programme seeks to complement and establish synergies with other EU programmes, in particular the framework programmes “Security and Safeguarding Liberties” and “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows”, as well as with the PROGRESS programme.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/252/EC

28.4.2007

OJ L 110 of 27.4.2007