Tag Archives: Discrimination

Free movement of sportspeople

Free movement of sportspeople

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free movement of sportspeople

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Sport

Free movement of sportspeople

Freedom of movement is one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the European Union (EU) to its citizens. Article 18 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality, which also applies to situations where EU citizens exercise their right to freely move and reside within the territories of EU countries (Article 21 TFEU). Furthermore, the Treaty provides for the free movement of workers within the EU, which also entails the abolition of discrimination between workers of EU countries on the basis of nationality (Article 45 TFEU), and for the freedom of establishment and provision of services (Articles 49 and 56 TFEU).

These provisions also apply to professional and semi-professional sportspeople (as workers), other sports professionals such as instructors, coaches or trainers (as providers of services) and amateur sportspeople (as EU citizens). However, in the framework of implementing EU law, the Commission recognises the specific nature of sport, as established by Article 165 TFEU. Hence, it accepts limited and proportionate restrictions to the principle of free movement with regard to the:

  • selection of national athletes for national team competitions;
  • limitation of the number of participants to a competition;
  • establishment of deadlines for player transfers in team sports.

Freedom of movement of professional sportspeople

Even though the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 provided the EU with a coordinating, supplementary and supporting competence in the field of sport (Article 165 TFEU), it remains a national competence, with sports federations often issuing the rules that govern sport. Nevertheless, these rules are subject to EU law on the free movement of workers when the activities of professional and semi-professional sportspeople involve gainful employment, as already ruled on several occasions by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).

The most notable of ECJ rulings was on the Bosman case in 1995, which also touched upon transfer rules as obstacles to free movement and nationality quotas as a form of direct discrimination. Mr Bosman, a Belgian footballer who had come to the end of his contract with a Belgian club, considered that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) transfer system had prevented his transfer to a French club. He brought an action against his club, the Belgian Football Federation and the Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA), on the grounds that the transfer system and the rules governing nationality were discriminatory and invalid because they infringed the right to free movement of workers within the EU. The ECJ held that the rules governing transfers and nationality were indeed liable to prevent the free movement of players. Hence, the ECJ found that a club may not prevent a player who is a national of an EU country from being employed by a club of another EU country on the expiry of his contract or complicate matters by requiring that the latter club pay the former club a transfer, training or development fee. Besides, according to the judgment, rules on nationality whereby a club may field only a limited number of professional players who are nationals of another EU country are not authorised.

Freedom of establishment and provision of services of professional sportspeople

National training rules and qualifications for sports professions vary greatly. Depending on the circumstances, these rules may fall within the remit of federal sports authorities, school and university systems, public authorities or even professional organisations. In addition, requirements for exercising sports professions differ from country to country. In certain EU countries, access to jobs in the field of education and training is subject to possession of a state diploma, while in other EU countries a diploma is not necessary in order to work as a sports professional. In certain cases, these disparities may hinder the free movement of sports professionals and lead to conflicts: professionals in one EU country may consider that they have to face competition on their national territory from instructors from other EU countries who have received a different training or who have not received training at all.

Within the context of the freedom of establishment and provision of services, the general system for the recognition of professional qualifications goes some way to resolving this problem. This system applies to regulated professions, that is, professional activities reserved for holders of a diploma or any other qualification issued by the national education system. In this sense, it applies to certain professional activities in the field of sport (such as ski instructors). This is the case whenever the possession of a diploma is legally required to exercise a sports profession. This system implies that the host EU country cannot refuse permission to a national of another EU country to exercise a profession if s/he holds a qualification recognised by his/her own country for exercising that profession. However, exceptions are made when there are substantial differences in the level of qualifications or the duration of training.

Sports qualifications issued by national federations or other sports organisations also come within the scope of this system if these bodies have been formally authorised to issue these qualifications by a public authority.

Promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe

Promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe

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

Promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe

The European Commission is working to encourage and develop the civil dialogue by promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations. This dialogue is intended to inform citizens about social policy development and in particular the implementation of measures designed to combat social exclusion and discrimination. In this Communication, the Commission explains the problems and challenges facing voluntary organisations and foundations with a view to encouraging their development at national and European levels, improving their ability to respond to future needs, and maximising their contribution to European integration.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 6 June 1997 on promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe.[COM(1997) 241 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Civil dialogue may be described as the reciprocal exchange of information between citizens at the grass roots and the European institutions, which facilitates the development of a social policy that is responsive to real needs, from the European level down to the local level, by promoting European citizenship and participation.

The beginnings of a more structured and consistent civil dialogue date back to the Maastricht Treaty, which enshrined Declaration 23 (annexed to the EU Treaty). This declaration stresses the importance of “cooperation between [the European institutions] … and charitable associations and foundations as institutions responsible for welfare establishments and services”.

The social economy consists of three sectors:

  • cooperatives,
  • mutual societies,
  • voluntary organisations.

Among these sectors, the voluntary organisations and foundations are becoming increasingly numerous. In addition, they play an essential role in almost all fields of social activity (sports activities, human rights, development policy, citizens’ interests, etc.). They play a part in creating jobs, in demonstrating active citizenship and in the exercise of democracy. Over time they have begun to contribute to European integration. This is why the Commission has mounted an extensive survey in order to learn more about the sector and to identify the problems to be addressed (the results of the survey are contained in Annex 1).

Over the years the voluntary sector and the European institutions have begun to cooperate more closely (the voluntary sector disseminates information to the public and shares its knowledge and experience with the institutions). There is a genuine political will for systematic consultation at European level, both in preparing and in implementing policies, ever since the adoption of Declaration 23.

However, the voluntary sector has had to address fresh problems and challenges linked to the extension of its role. Voluntary organisations trying to develop transnational European activities encounter a series of obstacles such as:

  • the difficulty in finding partners in other countries for joint projects;
  • the lack of funding at European level;
  • late payment of Community financial aid;
  • the unrepresentative nature of certain organisations;
  • lack of adequate training.

The Commission and the Member States are trying to remedy these problems on an ad hoc basis. The Commission considers it important to put in place a consistent policy and a strategy for this sector. It has put forward a certain number of ideas for examination by the voluntary sector, at both national and European level.

Member States:

In compliance with the subsidiarity principle, the Commission considers that the bulk of the activities must take place at national or even regional or local level, and proposes in particular:

  • learning more about the sector at all levels;
  • developing partnerships between the public authorities and the voluntary sector, while ensuring that they remain truly independent;
  • developing a clearer legal and tax framework for the voluntary organisations and foundations;
  • ensuring that the voluntary sector has adequate training opportunities.

Voluntary organisations and foundations:

The voluntary organisations and foundations should be more open and accessible so that citizens and the public authorities can familiarise themselves with their objectives and working methods.

They should also:

  • diversify their sources of funding;
  • encourage their personnel to seek training;
  • liase more closely with the public authorities and the business community.

Community level:

The dialogue between the voluntary organisations and institutions and Community bodies should be developed, in particular by the Consultative Committee for Cooperatives, Mutual Societies, Associations and Foundations, which aims to ensure the horizontal consultation and coordination of the sector, but also via the European Social Forum.

Parliament has also proposed creating an observatory to monitor the development of the sector in the single market.

Other actions could also be undertaken in order to:

  • improve access to European training programmes for members of voluntary organisations that wish to expand in Europe;
  • promote access to certain Community funds;
  • create a special fund in order to encourage transnational activities by the voluntary organisations.

The Commission is keen to mount a large-scale dialogue involving the sector, the European institutions, the Member States and other interested parties, in order to scrutinise the proposals set out in this Communication. It plans to organise a series of conferences and seminars to discuss this Communication and the questions it raises.

Related Acts

European Parliament Resolution on the Communication from the Commission on promoting the role of voluntary organisations and foundations in Europe [COM(97)0241 C4-0546/97].

 

EU guidelines on violence against women and girls

EU guidelines on violence against women and girls

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU guidelines on violence against women and girls

Topics

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

Human rights > Human rights in non-EU countries

EU guidelines on violence against women and girls

Document or Iniciative

EU guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them . General Affairs Council of 8 December 2008 [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Violence against women and girls is a worldwide, institutionalised phenomenon, which may vary depending on a society’s social, economic, cultural and political context. It has serious consequences for the physical and mental health of victims, as well as to societal development in general. It mainly results from economic and power inequalities between sexes, customs, traditions, religious values, political instability and armed conflict.

The term “violence against women” refers to “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.

With the adoption of these guidelines, the European Union (EU) is making a political and long-term commitment to the issue of women’s rights. Its action in combating violence against women focuses on three interrelated aims:

  • preventing violence;
  • protecting and supporting victims;
  • prosecuting perpetrators.

To this end, the guidelines provide the following operational objectives:

  • promoting gender equality and combating discrimination against women, particularly in the private sphere and in legislation and public policies;
  • gathering data and developing indicators on violence against women, to which end the EU will identify appropriate tools and support EU countries’ data collection efforts;
  • designing effective and coordinated strategies that are applied at all levels and in all sectors of society to prevent violence and protect victims;
  • combating the impunity of perpetrators by ensuring that acts of violence against women are punishable by law, and taking measures to facilitate victims’ access to justice.

EU intervention tools

The EU intervention tools must necessarily allow all relevant actors to become involved. They conform to the operational objectives and are applied complimentarily with other human rights guidelines, such as those on children’s rights and on human rights defenders.

Under the general approaches, the issue of violence against women and girls, and the forms of discrimination that result in such violence, is introduced in all relations with non-EU countries and regional organisations. The main concerns relate to the compliance of national legal frameworks with international standards and commitments, as well as to the proper application and follow-up of the latter. In this context, the EU will also further encourage the ratification of relevant conventions and protocols, namely the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The specific additional measures to combat violence against women include:

  • promoting the role of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women in situations of widespread and unpunished violence and ensuring that his/her recommendations are followed-up;
  • monitoring the proceedings of cases of violence against women and girls;
  • supporting women’s rights and female human rights defenders;
  • supporting awareness-raising campaigns and policies.

In individual cases of exceptional gravity, for example where violence is perpetrated or tolerated by a country contrary to its international commitments, the EU may also take specific measures.

Violence against women and discrimination that results in such violence are incorporated in the EU’s specific dialogues on human rights and, where necessary, in its other policy dialogues. This includes following-up recommendations of international and regional mechanisms related to women’s rights. The EU will also continue to promote internationally the prevention of violence against women, mainly within the UN.

The Heads of EU Missions have the obligation to include in their human rights reports information on the respect of women’s fundamental rights. EU special representatives and envoys, whose mandates also include women’s rights, are likewise responsible for reporting on the topic.

In its bilateral and multilateral cooperation to defend human rights, the EU will give priority to combating violence against women and girls. Civil society, including the legal and educational fields, will be closely involved. The emphasis will be on cooperation that takes place within the framework of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. The aim of this cooperation is to support civil society programmes, focusing on:

  • promoting access to justice and care services;
  • preventing violence;
  • strengthening the capacities of national administrations, relevant civil society organisations and other stakeholders involved in dealing with violence against women, its causes and consequences.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Protection at international level of the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities

Protection at international level of the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection at international level of the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities

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 measures for target groups: disability and old age

Protection at international level of the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2010/48/ECof 26 November 2009 concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Summary

The European Union (EU) has acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This international Convention is intended to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.

To this end, the Convention is based on a series of principles:

  • respect for the dignity, autonomy and independence of persons;
  • non-discrimination;
  • participation and inclusion in society;
  • respect for difference and acceptance of persons;
  • equality of opportunity;
  • accessibility, in particular access to transportation, information and communications, public facilities and services, in urban and rural areas;
  • equality between men and women;
  • respect for the identity of children with disabilities and for their evolving capacities.

States which have acceded to the Convention shall take all necessary measures to ensure respect for these principles on an ongoing basis. They also undertake to support the economic, social and cultural rights of persons with disabilities.

In addition, persons with disabilities should be consulted in the development and implementation of legislation and policies relating to them.

Protection against discrimination

All discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited and persons with disabilities are to receive equal and effective legal protection.

The Convention contains specific provisions in relation to two population groups:

  • women with disabilities, who are subject to multiple discrimination. Measures are to be taken to ensure their full development and their autonomy;
  • children with disabilities, who are entitled to protection of their best interests in decisions affecting them, also have the right to express their views freely and to be provided with appropriate assistance.

States which are Parties to the Convention undertake to combat stereotypes and to promote awareness of the capabilities of persons with disabilities.

Rights recognised by the Convention

The Convention lays down a series of rights and freedoms to which persons with disabilities are entitled. These include:

  • the right to life;
  • protection in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies;
  • recognition as persons before the law and of legal capacity, especially with a view to owning property and freedom to manage their own finances, while being protected against abuse;
  • access to justice, thanks to procedural accommodations;
  • liberty and security;
  • freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse;
  • protection of physical and mental integrity;
  • liberty of movement, the right to choose place of residence and nationality;
  • living independently and being included in the community;
  • personal mobility, especially through mobility devices and technologies;
  • freedom of expression and access to information;
  • respect for privacy;
  • respect for home and the family;
  • the right to education;
  • access to health services;
  • habilitation and rehabilitation, by attaining full physical, mental, social and vocational ability;
  • the right to work, without discrimination and under just and favourable conditions;
  • the right to an adequate standard of living and social protection;
  • participation in political and public life, including by voting and being elected;
  • participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.

Implementation of the Convention

International cooperation action may be undertaken for persons with disabilities, notably in partnership with relevant international and regional organisations.

States shall provide for one or more national focal points in order to inform the public about the Convention. They shall establish an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Convention. Civil society shall be fully involved in monitoring action.

Finally, each State shall submit a comprehensive report on measures taken to fulfil its obligations, within two years of its accession to the Convention.

Context

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability (Article 21). Similarly, it recognises the right of persons with disabilities to independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community (Article 26). The Lisbon Treaty accords the same legal value to the Charter as to the Treaties (Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union).

A framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all

A framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all

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

A framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 June 2005 – Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunities for All – A Framework Strategy [COM(2005)224 – Official Journal C 236 of 24.9.2005].

Summary

Ensuring effective legal protection against discrimination

In 2000, the European Union (EU) adopted two Directives (Directive 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. These texts contain precise definitions of direct and indirect discrimination and of harassment. They also allow certain exceptions to the principle of equal opportunities, which are defined as legitimate in a limited range of circumstances.

Substantial changes in Member States’ legislation as a direct consequence of the adoption of these Directives have been observed in recent years. However, the Commission has noticed that some important provisions have not been fully transposed.

The Commission also wishes to support the back-up measures (dissemination of information, awareness-raising, the sharing of experiences, training, access to justice, etc.) aimed at ensuring the application of and effective compliance with anti-discrimination legislation. This is achieved through the “non-discrimination and diversity” strand of the PROGRESS programme (Community programme for employment and social solidarity).

Finally, the Council has reached an agreement on the proposed framework decision of 2001 establishing common standards for combating racial crime, including anti-Semitism and offences against other religious minorities. The Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law was adopted on 28 November 2008.

Possible measures to complement the current legislative framework

Under the current EC legal framework, racial discrimination is prohibited in the areas of employment, training, education, social protection, social benefits and access to goods and services (Directive 2000/43/EC). The scope of protection against discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation is limited to employment, work and vocational training (Directive 2000/78/EC). Directive 2004/113/EC extends protection against sexual discrimination to the area of goods and services, but not to other areas covered by Directive 2000/43/EC.

The Commission initiated a feasibility study concerning new initiatives to complement the current legal framework. It examined the national provisions that go beyond Community requirements and took stock of the advantages and disadvantages of such measures.

Mainstreaming non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all

The Commission wishes to create tools to promote a mainstreaming approach that will incorporate the objective of non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all into Community policies. This integrated approach should help to focus especially on situations of multiple discrimination.

Promotion and use of innovation and good practices

On the basis of the EQUAL Community initiative, the European Social Fund (ESF) for the period 2007-13 focuses on ensuring greater social inclusion of people with disabilities and on combating discrimination. The PROGRESS programme complements the activity of the ESF in the fields of equality between men and women and combating discrimination.

The new generation of programmes in the field of education, training and youth can make a valuable contribution to the promotion of non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all. Likewise, in the field of immigration and asylum, the INTI (integration of third-country nationals) and ARGO (administrative cooperation in the fields of external borders, visas, asylum and immigration) programmes can contribute to the fight against discrimination.

Raising awareness and cooperating with stakeholders

With a view to ensuring a more positive approach to equality, the European Parliament and the Council declared 2007 the “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All”. This Year centred on four top-priority objectives: rights, recognition, representation and respect. 2007 was linked to the year 2008, which was devoted to intercultural dialogue.

The Commission also proposed organising an annual summit on equality, which would involve ministers, heads of national organisations dealing with equality, presidents of European NGOs, European social partners and representatives from international organisations. The first Equality Summit took place on 30-31 January 2007 together with the conference marking the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. Moreover, the Commission is particularly keen to work with employers in order to encourage and support non-discrimination at the workplace.

A special effort to protect disadvantaged ethnic minorities

The enlarged EU must define a coherent and effective approach to the social and labour market integration of ethnic minorities. The situation of the Roma is particularly worrying; despite the projects carried out under the PHARE programme, they remain the target of discrimination and exclusion.

EC legislation on combating discrimination prohibits any direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, or religion. In the context of the European Employment Strategy, Member States were encouraged to develop measures to facilitate the labour market integration of minorities under their National Action Plans. The open method of coordination on social integration also targets poverty and exclusion experienced by ethnic minorities, migrants and other disadvantaged groups. EU financial support is available through the ESF.

Enlargement, relations with third countries and international cooperation

The Commission will ensure the promotion of non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all in the context of enlargement and in relations with third countries through:

  • the use of pre-accession instruments to finance the promotion of non-discrimination;
  • the defence of human rights, including respect for minorities, which forms an integral part of the political accession criteria;
  • its European Neighbourhood Policy;
  • a financial instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights;
  • cooperation on projects launched by NGOs and international organisations.

The Commission is cooperating with international organisations to guarantee coherence, complementarity and a clear division of labour. In particular, it is working together with the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN) (it actively participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women, the work of the World Conference Against Racism and the development of a new UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

Background

This Communication follows on from the Green Paper on equality and non-discrimination in an enlarged EU, adopted by the European Commission on 28 May 2004. It takes account of the comments and reactions submitted by national authorities, specialised equal-opportunities bodies, non-governmental organisations, regional and local authorities, the social partners, experts, and individual members of the public.

Related Acts

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].
With this Communication, the Commission is providing a comprehensive approach through which its commitment to further non-discrimination and equal opportunities in the EU is renewed. This includes finalising the existing legal framework on anti-discrimination, promoting dialogue on non-discrimination policy and strengthening the existing policy tools to fight discrimination and promote equal opportunities.

Commission Decision 2006/33/EC of 20 January 2006 establishing a high-level advisory group on social integration of ethnic minorities and their full participation in the labour market [Official Journal L 21 of 25.1.2006].
In order to develop a coherent and effective approach to the social integration of disadvantaged ethnic minorities and to their full participation in the labour market, an advisory group has been established in the Commission. Its tasks are to analyse how to ensure social integration of ethnic minorities and to submit, before the end of the “2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All”, a report containing recommendations on the policies to be implemented in this connection.

Decision No 771/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 establishing the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) – towards a just society [Official Journal L 146 of 31.5.2006].

Green Paper of 28 May 2004 – Equality and non-discrimination in an enlarged European Union [COM(2004) 379 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS

Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS

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

Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1672/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity — PROGRESS [Official Journal L 315 of 15.11.2006] [See amending act(s)].

Summary

Up to now, Community activities in the fields of employment, social inclusion and protection, promoting gender equality and the principle of non-discrimination have been supported by separate action programmes.

With a view to improving coherence and efficiency, the European Commission has proposed to group these subjects together in a single framework programme known as PROGRESS.

GENERAL OBJECTIVES

The programme has six objectives:

  • to improve knowledge and understanding of the social situation of the Member States through analysis, evaluation and close monitoring of policies;
  • to support the development of statistical tools and methods and common indicators;
  • to support and monitor the implementation of legislation and policy objectives;
  • to promote networking, mutual learning, and the identification and dissemination of good practice at EU level;
  • to make stakeholders and the general public aware of European Union (EU) policies in the fields of employment, social protection and inclusion, working conditions, diversity and non-discrimination, and equality between men and women;
  • to boost the capacity of the key EU networks to promote and support EU policies.

STRUCTURE: FIELDS OF ACTIVITY AND TYPES OF ACTION

The programme is divided into the following five sections:

  • employment;
  • social protection and inclusion;
  • working conditions;
  • diversity and combating discrimination;
  • equality between women and men.

The programme will finance the following types of action:

  • analyses;
  • mutual learning, awareness-raising and dissemination activities;
  • support for the main players; i.e. contributing to the operating costs of the main networks in the Union, the formation of working groups, funding training seminars, creating networks of specialist bodies and observatories at EU level, staff exchanges between national administrations and cooperation with international institutions.

The programme has a list of operational objectives for each of the sections.

Employment

The objective of this section is to support implementation of the European Employment Strategy by:

  • improving understanding of the employment situation, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators;
  • monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the European Employment Guidelines and Recommendations and analysing the interaction between the EES and other policy areas;
  • organising exchanges on policies and processes and promoting mutual learning in the context of the EES;
  • reinforcing awareness-raising, disseminating information and promoting debate, in particular among regional and local players and the social partners.

Social protection and inclusion

This section will support the implementation of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection and inclusion by:

  • improving understanding of poverty issues and social protection and inclusion policies, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators;
  • monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection and inclusion and analysing the interaction between this method and other policy areas;
  • organising exchanges on policies and processes and promoting mutual learning in the context of the social protection and inclusion strategy;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting debate, in particular among NGOs and regional and local players;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the EU’s policy objectives.

Working conditions

This section will support the improvement of the working environment and conditions, including health and safety at work, by:

  • improving the understanding of the situation in relation to working conditions, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU labour law through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners, development of guides and networking amongst specialised bodies;
  • initiating preventive actions and fostering the prevention culture in the field of health and safety at work;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting the debate about the main challenges and policy issues relating to working conditions.

Diversity and combating discrimination

This section will support the effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination and promote its mainstreaming in EU policies by:

  • improving understanding of the discrimination situation, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU anti-discrimination legislation through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners and networking amongst specialised bodies dealing with combating discrimination;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting the debate about the main challenges and policy issues in relation to discrimination and the mainstreaming of anti-discrimination in EU policies;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the Union’s policy objectives.

Gender equality

This section will support the effective implementation of the principle of gender equality and promote gender mainstreaming in EU policies by:

  • improving the understanding of the situation in relation to gender equality issues and gender mainstreaming, in particular through analyses and studies and the development of statistics and indicators, as well as assessing the impact of existing legislation, policies and practices;
  • supporting the implementation of EU gender equality legislation through reinforced monitoring, training of practitioners and networking amongst specialised equality bodies;
  • raising awareness, disseminating information and promoting debate about the main challenges and policy issues in relation to gender equality and gender mainstreaming;
  • developing the ability of the main EU networks (e.g. of national experts or NGOs) to pursue the Union’s policy objectives.

ACCESS TO THE PROGRAMME AND PARTICIPATION BY THIRD COUNTRIES

Access to this programme is open to all public and/or private bodies, players and institutions, in particular:

  • Member States;
  • public employment services;
  • local and regional authorities;
  • specialised bodies provided for under EU legislation;
  • the social partners;
  • non-governmental organisations organised at EU level;
  • universities and research institutes;
  • experts in evaluation;
  • the national statistical institutes;
  • the media.

The programme is also open to the EFTA/EEA countries, associated candidate countries and countries of the western Balkans participating in the stabilisation and association process.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE

Actions may be funded by:

  • a service contract following a call for tenders;
  • a partial subsidy following a call for proposals. In this case, the EU co-financing may not, as a general rule, exceed 80 % of the total expenditure incurred by the recipient.

FINANCING

The budget proposed is EUR 683 250 000 million for the period 2007-2013. The breakdown of funding between the different sections will comply with the following lower limits:

  • Employment 23 %
  • Social protection and inclusion 30 %
  • Working conditions 10 %
  • Diversity and combating discrimination 23 %
  • Gender equality 12 %.

The remaining 2 % will be used to cover programme management expenses.

A budget of EUR 60 million has been allocated to the new microfinance facility Progress for employment and social inclusion for the period 2007-2013.

SIMPLIFICATION

The proposed approach will contribute to the key objective of simplifying instruments, in both legal and management terms, and streamlining the budget structure.

In the implementation of the programme, the Commission will be assisted by a single Programme Committee, instead of four as previously.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The Commission will draw up annual activity reports and send them to the Programme Committee. The programme will also be subject to a mid-term evaluation. An ex-post evaluation covering the whole programme will be carried out, one year after it ends, by the Commission with the assistance of external experts, in order to measure the impact of the programme objectives and its EU added value.

BACKGROUND

In its 2004 communication on the new financial framework for 2007-2013, the Commission identified the implementation of the social policy agenda as an important tool contributing to the goal of competitiveness for growth and employment.

In order to achieve the Lisbon objectives, the social policy agenda is based on a combination of instruments, in particular legislation, the Open Method of Coordination, European social dialogue, and the European Social Fund and other financial instruments managed directly by the Commission.

PROGRESS responds to the Commission’s desire to simplify and rationalise the financial instruments in the area of employment and social policy.

References

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

Decision 1672/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L315 of 15.11.2006

Amending Act(s) Entry into force date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 284/2010/EU

8.4.2010

OJ L 87 of 7.4.2010

Related Acts


Decision 283/2010/UE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 establishing a European Progress Microfinance Facility for employment and social inclusion [Official Journal L 87 of 7.4.2010].
The new Progress microfinance facility shall finance:

  • the creation of businesses or self-employment by persons excluded from the labour market and persons who do not have access to the conventional credit market;
  • micro-enterprises who employ persons who are socially excluded.

This instrument is aimed at public and private bodies who offer microfinance to individuals or micro-enterprises.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 June 2009 – “A Shared Commitment for Employment” [COM(2009) 257 final – Not published in the Official Journal].