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Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

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 > Health hygiene and safety at work

Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

Document or Iniciative

European Parliament and Council Directive 94/9/EC of 23 March 1994 on the forthcoming legislation for Member States on protective devices and systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The Directive applies to electrical and non-electrical protective devices and systems (surface and mining equipment) used in potentially explosive atmospheres * and to items of equipment for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres but which impinge upon devices that are present in any such atmospheres.

The Directive does not apply, in particular, to:

  • medical devices,
  • protective devices and systems used on premises where potentially explosive or chemically unstable substances are stored,
  • seagoing ships and mobile offshore units,
  • certain means of transport.

Conformity assessment procedures

Protective devices and systems must meet the essential safety and health requirements. These are divided up into three categories:

  • common requirements concerning protective devices and systems,
  • additional requirements applying to devices which can trigger an explosion,
  • additional requirements for protective systems.

CE conformity marking

The procedures for obtaining the CE conformity marking depend upon the device and level of safety provided. The Directive sets out in detail the procedures to be followed with regard to the various categories of protective devices and systems used in potentially explosive atmospheres. These devices are typified by a protection-level scale which determines the type of procedure to be followed.

Certain procedures for the assessment and checking of protective devices and systems are carried out by a notified body; a list of these is published in the Official Journal of European Union together with their identification numbers and the tasks for which they have been notified. Moreover, procedures ranging from unit verification to internal production control by manufacturers are laid down for well-defined conformity categories.

The CE conformity marking must be affixed to equipment in a visible manner, together with the identification number of the notified body where the latter is involved in the production control stage. Any other marking may be affixed to equipment provided that the visibility and legibility of the CE marking are not thereby reduced.

Equipment and protective systems complying with the Directive and bearing the CE conformity marking are deemed to be able to move freely throughout the European market. However, they may be withdrawn from the market if they adversely affect human or animal health or property.

For a transitional period ending on 30 June 2003, Member States allowed the placing on the market and bringing into service of equipment conforming to the provisions in force on their territory on 23 March 1994.

Key terms of the Act
  • Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres: machines, apparatus, fixed or mobile devices, control components and instrumentation thereof and detection or prevention systems which, separately or jointly, are intended for the generation, transfer, storage, measurement, control and conversion of energy for the processing of material and which are capable of causing an explosion through their own potential sources of ignition.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for implementation in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 94/9/EC

9.5.1994

1.9.1995

OJ L 100 of 19.4.1994

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for implementation in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 94/9/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference only.

Related Acts

List of titles and references for harmonised standards.

Directive 1992/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1999 on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (15th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [Official Journal L 23 of 28.1.2000].

This Directive lays down minimum requirements for the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres and in particular, the obligations of the employer.

Guidelines for the application of Directive 94/9/EC.

Equal opportunities report 2001

Equal opportunities report 2001

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal opportunities report 2001

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

Equal opportunities report 2001

To present an overview of the main developments and achievements in the field of equal opportunities in 2001 – at both European and national level – and to describe the outlook for 2002.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission, of 28 May 2002, to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Annual Report on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the European Union 2001 [COM(2002) 258 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Framework strategy on gender equality (2001-2005)

The Community framework strategy, adopted in June 2000, is aimed both at integrating the gender dimension in all Community policies that have an impact on the equal opportunities objective (principle of mainstreaming) and at promoting the introduction of specific measures to reduce inequalities. In 2001, noticeable progress was made with regard to both the integration of gender issues in the various policies and the introduction of specific measures.

As regards the mainstreaming of gender equality in Community policies, significant advances were noted in a number of areas, including the following:

  • enterprise: a study aimed at identifying and evaluating good practices in relation to the promotion of female entrepreneurship was launched, while another study to assess the gender impact of the “Innovation and SMEs” specific programme within the 5th framework research programme (1998-2002) was finalised and published recently.
  • Broad Economic Policy Guidelines: the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (EU) – July-December 2001 – launched an initiative to strengthen gender mainstreaming in the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines;
  • the Barcelona process: under the MEDA programme for cooperation with southern Mediterranean countries, a regional forum on the role of women in economic development was held in Brussels in July 2001;
  • education and continuing training: an action plan for gender equality (2001-2002) was adopted by the Socrates Committee in February 2001. The first phase is concerned with evaluating the gender dimension and the second phase with identifying indicators for improving the implementation of gender equality;
  • humanitarian aid: in 2001, the European Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) continued to incorporate the gender dimension in humanitarian aid. For example, it funded projects focusing on the specific needs of women, particularly in Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan;
  • the employment strategy: in connection with the adoption of the annual employment package, on 12 September 2001 the Commission sent a set of recommendations to eleven Member States encouraging them to strengthen equality between women and men;
  • combating violence and trafficking: implementation of the DAPHNE and STOP programmes continued in 2001 and the Commission adopted a new STOP II programme (to run until 2003). The implementation of the STOP II programme provided an opportunity to focus on assisting and protecting women who are the victims of violence;
  • the social inclusion process: in June 2001, the Member States drew up their first biennial national action plans based on common objectives to combat poverty and social exclusion. In these plans, most Member States identified higher risks of poverty and social exclusion among elderly women, single parents and victims of domestic violence. Even though many Member States are committed to enhancing the mainstreaming of the gender dimension over the next two years, there is still a lot to be done to find a consistent approach to gender needs and characteristics across all the strands of these plans.

As provided for in Decision 2000/407/EC of 19 June 2007, the Commission is committed to achieving a male/female balance in committees and expert groups, with a target of 40% minimum participation of both women and men. Following a first survey in 2000 among certain expert groups of the Commission in which an average of only 13.5% of the members were women, a second, much more comprehensive survey was conducted in 2001. In that year, the average percentage of women in all the Commission’s committees and expert groups was 28.8%. Among the members of those committees and expert groups for which the Commission had the right of appointment, 30.5% were women, whilst among the committees and groups on whose membership the Commission had no influence 28.4% were women.

The Member States continued to carry out a whole series of activities aimed at promoting equality between women and men and mainstreaming the gender dimension. The many initiatives taken include the example set by Austria, which adopted a project aimed at increasing the presence of women in the technology sector, especially IT. In Sweden, the law on equality between men and women was strengthened in January 2001. In the United Kingdom, a new government telephone helpline “Equality Direct” – backed up by a website – designed to provide firms with free information and advice on all equality-related issues was set up.

Equal pay was the priority theme chosen for 2001 under the Community framework strategy on gender equality and the associated funding programme. It was chosen because it is the most visible inequality in the European labour market. Despite the existence of legal provisions on this subject, women still earn an average of 14% less than men (in 1997, this difference was more pronounced in the private sector – 19% – than in the public sector – 10%).

The high profile given to the issue of equal pay was reflected in the conclusions of the Stockholm European Council (March 2001), which called on the Council and the Commission to develop appropriate indicators. This preparatory work enabled the Belgian Presidency to produce a set of indicators on pay differentials between women and men. Moreover, in September 2001 the European Parliament adopted a report on equal pay, which confirmed that a diversified approach would have to be adopted by all parties, whether European institutions, Member States or social partners, in order to obtain tangible results. The European Employment Strategy also plays an important part in achieving the objective of equal pay. Following the evaluation of the national plans for 2001, certain Member States announced various initiatives aimed at reducing pay differentials. However, the efforts will have to be continued if these initiatives are to come to anything and the social partners are to take an active part. Lastly, it is important to stress that the majority of the 27 projects selected in 2001 under the action programme address the issue of equal pay. Their funding amounts to a total of around 8 million euro. The first results of these projects are expected in 2003.

The following priority themes have been chosen for the programme on gender equality over the next few years:

  • 2001-2002: equal pay;
  • 2002-2003: reconciliation of work and family life;
  • 2003-2004: women in decision-making;
  • 2004-2005: gender stereotyping.

Legal developments

Substantial progress was made in 2001 on the proposal to amend the 1976 Directive on equal treatment in employment. The amended Directive is expected to break new ground in a number of important areas, including:

  • recognition of sexual harassment as discrimination on grounds of sex;
  • encouraging employers to prepare annual equality plans;
  • strengthening of the provisions concerning the judicial protection and compensation available to individuals in the event of discrimination;
  • strengthening of persons’ rights regarding maternity or paternity leave.

In response to questions put by national courts about cases relating to gender equality, the Court of Justice of the European Communities handed down three major rulings in 2001:

  • the judgements given in the Melgar and Tele Danmark cases, according to which instances of dismissal or non-renewal of an open-ended employment contract by reason of pregnancy constitute direct and unjustifiable discrimination on grounds of sex;
  • the Menauer case, in which the Court held that German pension funds entrusted with administering occupational pension schemes were bound by the principle of equal pay in the same way as an employer;
  • the Griesmar and Mouflin cases relating to two provisions of the French Civil and Military Pensions Code that discriminate against men, which were declared incompatible with Community law.

As regards the main developments in Member States’ legislation, a Finnish collective agreement provides that every sector can henceforth create a special equality allowance, which is designed to raise the remuneration of women who are not paid sufficiently well despite the difficulty of their work and their education in traditionally low-paid industrial sectors. In Denmark, the Equal Pay Act has been amended so that it is now more transparent. As far as national case law is concerned, the UK Employment Appeals Tribunal has broadened the definition of “comparator” so as to allow an employee of a local authority to compare him or herself with an employee of another local authority even where the two salary scales had been agreed independently. Paternity leave has been introduced in Greece and legislation on this subject has been proposed in France, Finland and the UK. Moreover, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands have introduced legislation on the extension of maternity leave.

Equality in the enlargement process

The work of transposing European legislation on equal opportunities is under way in the candidate countries, some of which already obtained good results in 2001. However, the legislation in itself is not sufficient. The introduction of support mechanisms is just as essential to the achievement of gender equality. In this context, it is vital to have institutional and administrative structures that facilitate the implementation of and respect for rights relating to equality. Substantial efforts still need to be made in this direction.

Outlook for 2002

In 2002, the spotlight will be on reconciliation of work and family life. Various initiatives will be launched at European level in order to raise the profile of this issue, to finance transnational projects, to improve the statistics and indicators and to draw up a report on the application of the parental leave Directive.

The Commission will also submit a proposal for a directive on discrimination on the grounds of sex. This new legal basis will make it possible to take action in areas other than employment and social security, which at present constitute the relatively limited field of application of Community law on equality.

In 2002, the fight against trafficking in women and violence and the enhancement of the importance given to gender equality in the EU’s external policies and the actions of the Structural Funds will continue to be policy priorities. Lastly, in line with the current evaluation of the participation of women in the decision-making process and with an eye to the European Parliament elections in 2004, the Commission plans to focus its activities in 2003 on promoting the gender balance in decision-making.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Report from the Commission, of 5 March 2003, to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Annual Report on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the European Union 2002 [COM(2003) 98 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Equality between men and women

Equality between men and women

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equality between men and women

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

Equality between men and women

Equality between women and men is one of the fundamental principles of Community law. The European Union?s (EU) objectives on gender equality are to ensure equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women and to combat any form of discrimination on the grounds of gender. The EU has adopted a two-pronged approach to this issue, combining specific measures with gender mainstreaming. The issue also has a strong international dimension with regard to the fight against poverty, access to education and health services, taking part in the economy and in the decision-making process, women’s rights and human rights.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

Gender mainstreaming

  • Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015
  • Strengthening the commitment to equality between women and men: a women’s charter
  • Roadmap for equality between women and men (2006-2010)
  • Fifth Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities (2001-2006)
  • Incorporation of equal opportunities into Community policies

Financial aspects

  • Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)
  • European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF)
  • EQUAL
  • Gender mainstreaming within the Structural Funds
  • Promotion of organisations active in the field of equality between men and women (2004-2006)

Reports

  • Report on equality between women and men – 2009
  • Report on equality between women and men – 2008
  • Report on equality between men and wome 2007
  • Report on equality between women and men 2006
  • Report on equality for men and women, 2005
  • Report on equality between men and women, 2004
  • Report on equal opportunities 2002
  • Equal opportunities report 2001

Institutional aspects

  • European Institute for Gender Equality
  • Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women
  • Gender balance within the committees and expert groups set up by the Commission

PRINCIPLE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEX

  • The principle of equal treatment for men and women outside the labour market
  • Burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex

FEMALE EMPLOYMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Employment

  • Tackling the pay gap between men and women
  • Gender equality in the labour market
  • Equal treatment as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion
  • Self-employed workers: equal treatment between men and women
  • Equal treatment of self-employed workers (until 2012)
  • Equal pay
  • Balanced participation of women and men in the decision-making process
  • The integration of women in research

Social dimension

  • Parental leave
  • Promoting solidarity between the generations
  • Balanced participation of women and men in family and working life
  • Protection of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding
  • Childcare
  • Social security: equal treatment for men and women
  • Parental leave and leave for family reasons
  • Occupational pension schemes

COMBATING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Combating sexual harassment

  • Protection of the dignity of women and men at work
  • Code of practice to clamp down on sexual harassment at work
  • Preventing sexual harassment at work

Combating violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking in women

  • New measures to combat trafficking in women
  • Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation

INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION OF EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

  • Strategy for gender equality in development policy
  • Fourth United Nations Conference on Women

EQUAL

EQUAL

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EQUAL

Topics

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

Regional policy > Provisions and instruments of regional policy

EQUAL

The aim of the Community initiative EQUAL is to promote new ways of combating all forms of discrimination and inequalities in the labour market on the basis of transnational cooperation and to facilitate the social and occupational integration of asylum seekers.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Member States of 14.04.2000 establishing the guidelines for the Community initiative EQUAL concerning transnational cooperation to promote new means of combating discrimination and inequalities in connection with the labour market [C(2000)853 – Official Journal C 127 of 05.05.2000].

Summary

The increasing interdependence of the Member States’ economies led to a new employment chapter (Title VIII ) being incorporated in the Treaty of Amsterdam. This provides for the development of a European employment strategy and annual adoption of guidelines (2001) which the Member States are asked to take into account in their national policies.

The employment guidelines, which are transposed into national action plans (NAP) for each Member State, are based on four pillars:

  • employability;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • adaptability;
  • equal opportunities.

The European Union is also developing an integrated strategy to combat social exclusion and discrimination on grounds of sex or sexual orientation, race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs and disability or age. There are policies and programmes in this area, particularly under Articles 13 (combating discrimination) and 137 of the Treaty (promoting social integration). The Community initiative EQUAL also helps to implement this strategy but is confined to action in the labour market.

The European Commission would like to build on the experience gained with the ADAPT and EMPLOYMENT programmes implemented in the period 1994-1999. For the period 2000-2006, it is therefore including EQUAL in the four new Community initiatives (along with INTERREG III, LEADER+ and URBAN II) presented in Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The Member States and the Commission jointly cofinance EQUAL. Community funding comes exclusively from the European Social Fund (ESF) and amounts to 3.274 billion euros over seven years. The provisions in the general Regulation on the Structural Funds, especially those on varying the rates of participation by the Community depending on the geographical location of the activities, apply for the purposes of implementing EQUAL.

EQUAL is different from the Structural Funds’ programmes under Objective 1, Objective 2 and Objective 3. It constitutes a permanent laboratory for experimentation in developing and disseminating new approaches for implementing employment policies to combat all manner of discrimination and inequalities, including those suffered by asylum seekers. Over time, innovative solutions which have proved to be effective will be disseminated to the authorities responsible so that they can integrate them in the main activities supported by the Structural Funds.

Each Member State presents to the Commission a Community initiative programme (CIP) in which it sets out its strategy and its arrangements for implementing EQUAL. Activities funded under the CIP are broken down into thematic areas and implemented in geographical or sectoral development partnerships. Transnational cooperation, through which added value accrues at European level, helps to foster exchanges of experience and good practice. Innovation is also an integral part of the Community initiative. It may be linked to the process (improvement of existing approaches, new methods and new tools), the aims pursued (objectives which help to identify new or promising qualifications and new sources of employment) or the context (new administrative or political structures and innovatory implementing systems).

Thematic approach

The Member States base their EQUAL strategy on specific thematic areas under the four pillars of the employment guidelines (as well as that of “Asylum application”). These can be reviewed every two years in the light of developments in the labour market and are as follows.

  • Pillar 1: employability

    a) To ease access to the labour market for those who are having problems entering and returning to the labour market.
    b) To combat racism and xenophobia at work.
  • Pillar 2: entrepreneurship

    c) To make it possible for anyone to start up a business by providing the tools necessary to do so and to identify new opportunities for employment in urban and rural areas.
    d) To enhance the social economy (third sector) and especially services of public interest by concentrating on improving job quality.
  • Pillar 3: adaptability

    e) To promote lifelong learning and inclusive practices encouraging recruitment and stable employment for those suffering from discrimination or unequal treatment at work.
    f) To foster the ability in enterprises and amongst workers to adapt to economic change and the use of new information technologies.
  • Pillar 4: equal opportunities for men and women

    g) To reconcile family and working life, and boost employment amongst women and men who have left work by developing more effective and flexible forms of organisation of work and personal services.
    h) To reduce the gender pay gap and combat job segregation.
  • Pillar 5: To help asylum seekers to integrate (Depending on their official status – an extremely complex matter approached in different ways in different Member States – assistance may consist of new ways of facilitating access to the job market or the provision of training for rejected asylum seekers before they leave the country.)

Depending on the national circumstances which determine where action is needed most, the Member States choose at least one area under each pillar (barring exceptions). Promoting equal opportunities for men and women forms an integral part of all the thematic areas chosen in addition to having specific actions reserved for it under Pillar 4.

Member States make provision for a minimum amount of action on behalf of asylum seekers, depending on their numbers, who they divide into three categories: 1) those whose applications are currently being examined by the Member State; 2) those who have been accepted under a relocation or humanitarian evacuation programme or under temporary protection arrangements and 3) those who have not been granted the status of refugees but who come under another form of protection (additional or subsidiary protection) because their personal circumstances prevent them from returning to their country of origin. In the European Union, the situation of asylum seekers is problematic. Access to the labour market is prohibited or subject to restrictive conditions. Action specifically for their benefit may take the form of sectoral development partnerships (action by all the relevant partners at national level to fund the integration of these persons) or geographic development partnerships (in an area where there is a relatively large number of asylum seekers). Action on behalf of asylum seekers constitutes the ninth thematic area of the EQUAL initiative in which development partnerships can take action.

Partnerships

Partnerships are an essential component in implementing EQUAL. Development partnerships, which are the ultimate beneficiaries of financial aid, bring together all the parties that are interested and have something to contribute: public authorities at national, regional or local level, local authorities, public employment services, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), enterprises and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the social partners. All these players cooperate to draw up a strategy for action in each of the thematic areas mentioned above. Together they define and decide upon joint aims (empowerment principle) and seek innovative ways of combating inequality and discrimination.

The Member States define which of the following two types of partnership caters best for national circumstances:

  • geographic development partnerships which bring together players in a specific geographical area
  • sectoral development partnerships which cover a particular economical industrial sector and may also be geared to a specific target group.

As the ESF is the only Community fund supporting development partnerships, action eligible under other Structural Funds (ERDF, “guidance” section of the EAGGF, FIFG) may attract subsidies as long as they comply with the provisions of the Treaty, especially those concerning State aid.

ACTION TO BE FUNDED

EQUAL will support four different types of activity in each thematic area:

  • Action 1: setting up of development and transnational cooperation partnerships.

    Action 1, which may not exceed 6 months, is intended to help to set up permanent and effective development partnerships and to ensure that transnational cooperation brings genuine added value.
    This constitutes the main selection phase for obtaining funding under EQUAL. Development partnership initiators submit an application to the Member State covering the thematic area and geographical area/sector concerned, which must include: a list of partners and their capacity and role in the administrative and financial management of the planned action, a diagnosis of the problem to be dealt with, the aims to be achieved, a programme of work for Action 1 and the type of activities provided for under Action 2, and expectations with regard to transnational cooperation.
    At the end of Action 1, the partnership will be able to present a joint strategy in the form of a genuine development partnership plan comprising at least: an ex ante evaluation
    of the situation with regard to exclusion and discrimination for the theme selected and the geographical area/sector concerned, a work programme and a realistic budget, clear identification of each partner’s role (guidance, decision-making, management, administration and funding), a mechanism for permanent evaluation (collection and analysis of data based on indicators), a formal commitment to take part in Action 3 and a strategy for integrating equal opportunities.
    As regards transnational cooperation, the development partnerships will cooperate with at least one partnership from another Member State, which will generally be a participant in EQUAL. In duly substantiated cases, cooperation may be extended to a similar structure of a non-Member State eligible for funding under the PHARE, TACIS or MEDA programmes.
  • Action 2: implementation of the development partnerships’ work programme.

    To receive the funding for implementing Action 2, each development partnership selected presents a development partnership agreement and a transnational cooperation agreement complying with the criteria mentioned under Action 1. These two documents must meet the following requirements: transparency (availability of the required co-funding, authorisation to manage public funds, acknowledgement that the results of the activities will remain in the public domain), representative capacity of the partnership, willingness and ability to participate in transnational cooperation activities (value-added expected, dissemination of results in national and European networks).
    The work programme and the budget for Action 2 cover an initial period of 2 to 3 years which can be extended.
  • Action 3: thematic networking, dissemination of good practice and impact on national policy.
    This is compulsory for all development partnerships and supports networking, dissemination and integration in employment and labour market policies. The development partnerships act either separately or in groups, depending on their expertise.
    The Member States will set up mechanisms helping to integrate the partnerships’ activities into combating discrimination and unfair treatment both at the level of organisations active in a similar sphere and at the level of regional or national policy, especially the NAPs and the Structural Funds.
    These mechanisms are intended to: identify factors which cause inequality and discrimination and monitor and analyse the genuine or potential impact of development partnerships on target groups and the NAP priorities. They also pinpoint and evaluate factors which are conducive to good practice and will be disseminated at the end of Action 1.
  • Action 4: technical assistance.

    Technical assistance will be designed to: make it easier to find partners and to consolidate partnerships for transnational cooperation (Action 1), collect, publish and disseminate experience and results, including annual development partnership reports (Action 2), support thematic networking, dissemination and setting up of mechanisms with a strong political impact (Action 3), and ensure cooperation in networking at European level and sharing of all relevant information with other Member States and the Commission.
    Technical assistance will also support monitoring, auditing and assessment of activities both within the Member States and at European level.
    Such assistance, which will account for a maximum of 8 % of the ESF’s contribution to each Community initiative programme, will be provided by structures selected in a transparent process at national level.

DISSEMINATION AND EVALUATION AT EUROPEAN LEVEL

The Member States, the social partners and the Commission will cooperate to see that good practice in EQUAL feeds through into the European employment strategy. At European Union level, the Commission will make arrangements to assess the impact of Community action in three separate ways:

  • thematic examination at European Union level;

    For each thematic area in the EQUAL initiative, the Commission will organise a series of evaluations of the partnership development groups. The results will be made public and will serve to underpin the assessments of policies within the framework of the European employment strategy and Community programmes set up under Articles 13 (combating discrimination) and 137 (promotion of social integration) of the Treaty.
    The accession countries will be involved in discussing and utilising the results.
  • periodic assessment of the added value of EQUAL in relation to national action plans on employment;

    The Commission will set up a database of good practice in EQUAL from activities under Action 3 and information collected from the development partnerships.
    The Monitoring Committees of Objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the Structural Funds will have access to this information.
  • organisation of discussion forums at European Union level;

    Each year, there will be a forum for debate and information feedback involving the European NGO social platform. The Commission will also organise meetings on more specific matters, such as transfer of good practice to the accession countries.
    The ESF Employment and Management Committees shall be regularly informed of progress in implementing EQUAL.

External service providers chosen on the basis of calls for tender, the total value of which will not exceed 2 % of the ESF contribution, will carry out specific tasks helping to implement EQUAL and receive Community support accounting for 100 % of their total costs.

COMMUNITY INITIATIVE PROGRAMMES

In compliance with the programming principle laid down in the basic regulation on the Structural Funds and on the basis of their indicative financial allocations, the Member States will present to the Commission a draft Community initiative programme (CIP) for implementation of EQUAL within four months of publication in the OJ of this Communication.

Each CIP, which will take the form of a single programming document (DOCUP), will comprise a detailed description of the following components: the current situation with regard to discrimination and inequality in the labour market, an ex ante assessment of the impact expected on the socio-economic situation at local or sectoral level, an implementation strategy based on the selected priorities (with specific action for asylum seekers) and information activities, complementarity between this strategy and the national action plan, local employment pacts and other Community programmes, actions and methods conducive to equal opportunities for men and women, a summary of the lessons learnt from the ADAPT and EMPLOYMENT initiatives, arrangements for technical assistance required to implement the CIP, an indicative financing plan showing the envisaged ESF contribution and the expected public and private support, consultation process for all the partners in decision making, arrangements for monitoring, control and evaluation of the implementation of EQUAL (calls for proposals, contracts awarded to the final beneficiaries, integration in policies or mainstreaming, composition of the Monitoring Committee, collection of data and indicators necessary for permanent assessment).

Following a negotiation period of five months, the Commission will approve each CIP by means of a decision confirming allocation of a contribution from the ESF. An additional programming schedule is then added for each CIP.

For more information on the Structural Funds, please consult the EQUAL site of the Directorate-General of Employment and Social Affairs.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Council Regulation laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund [COM(2004) 492 final].

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund [COM(2004) 495 final].

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded – Annex II:
List referred to in Article 20 of the Act of Accession – 15. Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments
This Act provides for commitment appropriations for EQUAL amounting to 223 million euro for the ten new Member States between 1 May 2004 and 31 December 2006.

Communication from the Commission establishing the guidelines for the second round of the Community Initiative EQUAL [COM(2003) 840 of 30.12.2003]

Commission Decision C/2000/1221 of 12.05.2000 establishing an indicative distribution by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the Community initiative EQUAL for 2000-2006.

DECISIONS APPROVING THE CIPs:
– Decision C/2001/31 of 08.3.2001 (Denmark)
– Decision C/2001/33 of 08.3.2001 (France)
– Decision C/2001/34 of 09.3.2001 (Greece)
– Decision C/2001/35 of 08.3.2001 (United Kingdom)
– Decision C/2001/36 of 22.3.2001 (Spain)
– Decision C/2001/37 of 09.3.2001 (Sweden)
– Decision C/2001/40 of 26.3.2001 (Belgium – French and German-speaking communities)
– Decision C/2001/41 of 16.3.2001 (Finland)
– Decision C/2001/42 of 22.3.2001 (Luxembourg)
– Decision C/2001/43 of 26.3.2001 (Italy)
– Decision C/2001/579 of 30.3.2001 (Netherlands)
– Decision C/2001/580 of 29.3.2001 (Portugal)
– Decision C/2001/581 of 30.3.2001 (Belgium – Flemish-speaking community)
– Decision C/2001/582 of 18.4.2001 (Germany)
– Decision C/2001/585 of 02.5.2001 (Austria)
– Decision C/2001/586 of 02.5.2001 (Northern Ireland)
– Decision C/2001/588 of 22.5.2001 (Ireland)

Opinion of the Committee of Regions [Official Journal C 156 of 06.06.2000]

Decision – C(2000) 1382 [not published in the Official Journal]
On 24 May 2000, the Commission adopted the decision on the allocation of a contribution from the European Social Fund to funding a set of actions in the form of an overall subsidy implemented pursuant to the Community assistance provided for in the context of the Social Fund (Action under Article 6(1)(e)) of Regulation (EC) No 1784/99 of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 July 1999.


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions establishing the guidelines for the second round of the Community initiative EQUAL concerning transnational cooperation to promote new means of combating all forms of discrimination and inequalities in connection with the labour market – “Free movement of good ideas” [COM(2003) 840

– Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission takes stock of the early results of EQUAL, pointing to promising practices which can already contribute to new ways of tackling discrimination and inequality in the labour market, and setting the scene for the second round of EQUAL, which starts in 2004 with the participation of the 10 acceding countries.

The principles and architecture of the second round are the same as for the first round. The thematic approach is retained. The promotion of equality between men and women remains integral to all thematic fields as well as being targeted through specific actions. The Commission is planning to open up a “transnationality window” from 1 January 2005, consisting of the publication in the EQUAL Common Data Base (ECDB) of information on Development Partnerships selected by the Member States, thus giving all Development Partnerships an equal chance to find transnational partners.
The Commission also presents recommendations with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of EQUAL, especially by simplifying the administrative side.

Equal treatment as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion

Equal treatment as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal treatment as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion

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

Equal treatment as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion

The purpose of this Directive is to ensure equal treatment for men and women in respect of access to employment, vocational training and career advancement, as well as working conditions.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions [See amending acts].

Summary

The principle of equal treatment means that there should be no discrimination whatsoever on the grounds of sex, either directly or indirectly, by reference in particular to marital or family status. Member States may, however, exclude from the Directive’s scope occupational activities for which, by reason of their nature, or the context in which they are carried out, the sex of the worker constitutes a determining factor.

The Directive is without prejudice to provisions concerning the protection of women (pregnancy, maternity), or to measures to remove existing inequalities which affect women’s opportunities in the areas covered by the Directive.

Application of the principle means that there should be no discrimination on grounds of sex in the conditions, including selection criteria, for access to all jobs or posts at all levels of the hierarchy.

The principle applies to access to all types and all levels of vocational guidance, basic and advanced vocational training and retraining.

Application of the principle to working conditions, including conditions governing dismissal, means that men and women must be guaranteed the same conditions.

Member States must take the measures necessary to ensure that:

  • any laws, regulations and administrative provisions contrary to the principle of equality are abolished or amended if they were originally based on a concern for protection which is no longer well-founded;
  • inappropriate provisions included in collective agreements, individual contracts of employment, the internal rules of undertakings or rules governing independent professions can be declared null and void or amended.

Labour and management must be requested to undertake the revision of such provisions in collective agreements.

Persons wronged by failure to apply the principle must have the right to pursue their claims by judicial process.

Employees must be protected against dismissal by the employer as a reaction to a complaint within the undertaking or to any legal proceedings aimed at enforcing compliance with the principle of equal treatment.

The provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and the relevant provisions already in force must be brought to the attention of employees by all appropriate means.

Member States must periodically assess the occupational activities excluded from the field of application of the Directive in order to decide, in the light of social developments, whether there is justification for maintaining the exclusions concerned. They must forward all necessary information to the Commission by the stipulated deadline, to enable it to draw up a report on the application of the Directive.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 76/207/EEC

9.2.1976

12.8.1978

OJ L 39 of 14.2.1976

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

Directive 2002/73/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2000/0142]

23.9.2002

5.10.2005

OJ L 269 of 5.10.2002

Directive 2006/54/EC repealing Directive 76/207/CEE from 14.8.2009 [adoption: codecision COD/2004/0084]

15.8.2006

15.8.2008

OJ L 204 of 26.7.2006

The successive amendments and corrigenda to the Regulation have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis of mere documentary value.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 29 July 2009 – Report on the application of Directive 2002/73/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 September 2002 amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions [ final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Report was produced by the Commission based on information received from the Member States. The majority of Member States made progress in implementing Directive 2002/73/CE. The main legislative changes shall ensure:

  • access to legal and administrative procedures before and after the labour relationship has ended;
  • the right to legal recourse by any organisation which has legitimate interest in acting on behalf of, or in support of, a victim of discrimination;
  • victims are protected from victimisation as well as third parties assisting the victim.

However, some Member States are still required to amend their legislation significantly, specifically with regard to compensation or reparation for loss or damage and sanction schemes. The Directive provides for the establishment or development of organisations responsible for ensuring and promoting equality. However, their visibility amongst the general public must be improved in the majority of Member States.
The Report stresses that participation of all the stakeholders involved is essential, whether they are employers, representatives from trade unions or civil society organisations. The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All and financing from the structural funds have also significantly contributed to promoting equality.

Equal treatment of self-employed workers

Equal treatment of self-employed workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal treatment of self-employed workers

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

Equal treatment of self-employed workers (until 2012)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed capacity and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood [Official Journal L 359 of 19.12.1986].

Summary

The Directive applies to self-employed workers * and to their spouses, who are not employees or partners, and who habitually participate in the activities of the self-employed worker. This Directive is applicable until 5 August 2012, when it is to be replaced by the new Directive 2010/41/EU.

The principle of equal treatment implies the absence of all discrimination on the grounds of sex.

All provisions contrary to the principle of equal treatment must be eliminated by the Member States, in particular in respect of the establishment or extension of a business or of any other form of self-employed activity.

The conditions for the formation of a company between spouses shall be the same as between unmarried persons.

Where a contributory social security system for self-employed persons exists, spouses who are not protected under this system must be able to join a contributory social security scheme voluntarily.

The Member States undertake to examine all initiatives concerning the recognition of the work of the spouses.

Similarly, concerning the interruption of activities owing to pregnancy or motherhood, the Member States shall examine under what conditions female self-employed workers and the wives of self-employed workers may have access to services supplying temporary replacements or to social services, or be entitled to cash benefits (under a social security scheme or public social protection system).

All persons who consider themselves wronged by failure to apply the principle of equal treatment between men and women in self-employed activities must be able to pursue their claims by judicial process.

The measures adopted pursuant to this Directive and the relevant provisions already in force are brought to the attention of the bodies representing self-employed workers and vocational training centres.

Key terms
  • Self-employed workers: all persons pursuing a gainful activity for their own account, under the conditions laid down by national law, including farmers and members of the liberal professions.

References

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

Directive 86/613/EEC

17.12.86

30.6.91

OJ L 359 of 19.12.86

Equal pay

Equal pay

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal pay

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

Equal pay

The Directive prohibits all discrimination on the grounds of sex in relation to pay. It offers recourse to judicial process for persons disadvantaged by a failure to comply with this principle and protects complainants against the employer’s reaction. It also calls upon the Member States to eradicate any discrimination laid down in national laws, regulations or administrative provisions and to inform workers of measures taken in application of the Directive.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women [See amending acts].

Summary

The principle of equal pay entails, for the same work or for work to which equal value is attributed, the elimination of all discrimination on grounds of sex with regard to all aspects and conditions of remuneration. Where a job classification system is used for determining pay, it must be based on the same criteria for both men and women.

Judicial process

Employees wronged by failure to apply this principle must have the right of recourse to judicial process to pursue their claims.

Discrimination in legislative provisions

Member States shall abolish all discrimination between men and women arising from laws, regulations or administrative provisions which do not comply with the principle. They shall take the necessary measures to ensure that provisions appearing in collective agreements, wage scales, wage agreements or individual contracts of employment which are contrary to the equal pay principle may be declared null and void. They shall ensure that the equal pay principle is applied and that effective means are available to take care that it is observed.

Protection against the employer’s reaction

Employees shall be protected against dismissal by the employer as a reaction to a complaint within the undertaking or to any legal proceedings aimed at enforcing compliance with the equal pay principle.

Information and communication

The provisions adopted pursuant to the Directive and relevant existing legislation shall be brought to the attention of employees.

Member States shall forward all necessary information to the Commission by the deadline specified, to enable it to draw up a report on the application of the Directive.

Context

The aim of the Directive is to reinforce the basic laws with standards aimed at facilitating the practical application of the principle of equality to enable all employees in the Community to be protected, as there are still disparities between Member States despite efforts to date.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 75/117/EEC 12.2.1975 12.2.1976 OJ L 45 of 19.2.1975
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2006/54/EC
repeals Directive 75/117/EEC of 14.8.2009
15.8.2006 15.8.2008 OJ L 204 of 26.7.2006

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 1177/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 concerning Community statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC) [Official Journal L 165 of 3.7.2003].

A new Community database (SILC) has been created with a view to collecting comparable statistics in all Member States on income, poverty, social exclusion and other aspects of living conditions.

Resolution of the European Parliament on equal pay for work of equal value (

pdf

) [Official Journal C 77 E of 28.3.2002].

Given the continued existence of gender pay gaps in the European Union in favour of men, Parliament calls on all the social players at European level, namely the Commission, the Member States, the social partners and the candidate countries, to give renewed impetus to the policy of equal pay for men and women.

Commission Communication of 17 July 1996 on the code of conduct concerning the implementation of equal pay for women and men for work of equal value [COM (96) 336 final – not published in the Official Journal].

The Communication aims to provide concrete advice for employers and collective bargaining partners at business, sectoral or intersectoral levels in order to ensure the implementation of the principle of equality. In particular, it aims to eliminate sex discrimination where the pay structures are based on job classification and job evaluation schemes.

Essentially, the Code proposes that negotiators at all levels, whether on the side of the employers or the unions, should carry out an analysis of the remuneration system and evaluate the data required to detect sexual discrimination so that remedies can be found. The Code also proposes that a plan for follow-up should be drawn up and implemented in order to eliminate any sexual discrimination evident in the pay structures.

The Code is intended to be applied at the workplace, both in the public and private sectors. Employers are encouraged to follow the recommendations in the Code, adapting them to the size and structure of their businesses.

Equal treatment of temporary workers

Equal treatment of temporary workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal treatment of temporary workers

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

Equal treatment of temporary workers

Proposal

Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work.

Summary

Temporary workers * are employed by a temporary-work agency * and temporarily placed at the disposal of user undertakings *. In terms of the basic working and employment conditions, the temporary workers and the workers recruited directly by the undertaking for the same type of post receive equal treatment.

This Directive applies to public and private temporary-work agencies, and to user undertakings engaged in economic activities whether or not they are operating for gain. After consulting social partners, Member States may decide that the Directive does not apply to employment contracts within certain public programmes, specifically vocational training, integration or retraining.

Working and employment conditions

The principle of equal treatment applies to the basic working and employment conditions relating to:

  • the duration of working time, overtime, breaks, rest periods, night work, holidays and public holidays;
  • pay.

Workers receive equal treatment with regard to:

  • the protection of pregnant women and nursing mothers;
  • the protection of children and young people;
  • equal treatment for men and women;
  • protection against discrimination based on sex, race or ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, disabilities, age or sexual orientation.

However, Member States may authorise the social partners to define specific working and employment conditions for temporary workers.

After consulting the social partners, Member States may also provide the option to derogate from the principle of equal pay for temporary workers who have a permanent contract of employment (PCE) and who continue to be paid between two postings *.

Access to employment, training and services

Temporary workers must be free to conclude an employment contract with the user undertaking at the end of their posting. They must therefore be kept informed of vacancies for permanent employment. Their participation in training programmes must be encouraged, whether within the temporary-work agency or the user undertaking.

Access to the amenities and collective services of the user undertaking (specifically canteens, childcare facilities and transport) must be open to them, and in principle under the same conditions as other workers.

Representation and information

Bodies representing workers are constituted according to a threshold calculated using the number of employees in an undertaking or establishment. Temporary workers are taken into account in this calculation within the temporary-work agency which employs them. However, Member States may also decide to count them within the user undertaking.

When a user undertaking presents the employment situation to the social partners, it must provide information on the temporary workers.

Penalties

Member States must lay down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in the event of infringements of national provisions enacted under this Directive. They should also ensure that legal or administrative recourse exists in case of breaches of the obligations of this Directive.

Context

Members States shall review the restrictions or prohibitions applicable to temporary work by 5 December 2011 at the latest. These limitations may be justified only on grounds of the general interest.

Key terms used in the act
  • Temporary worker: a person with a contract of employment or an employment relationship with a temporary-work agency with a view to being posted to a user undertaking to work temporarily under its supervision.
  • Posting: the period during which the temporary worker is placed at the user undertaking to work temporarily under its supervision.
  • Temporary-work agency: any natural or legal person who concludes contracts of employment or establishes employment relationships with workers in order to post them to user undertakings for temporary postings.
  • User undertaking: any natural or legal person for whom and under the supervision of whom a temporary worker works temporarily.

References

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

2008/104/EC

5.12.2008

5.12.2011

OJ L 327 of 5.12.2008

Equal treatment in employment and occupation

Equal treatment in employment and occupation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal treatment in employment and occupation

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 > Employment rights and work organisation

Equal treatment in employment and occupation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000, establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

Summary

Combating discrimination is a major challenge for the European Union. The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the rule of law. Hence the EU must take all measures necessary to combat discrimination of all kinds, notably as regards employment and the labour market.

Employment and occupation are crucial to ensuring equal opportunities for all and in large measure contribute to the full participation of citizens in economic, social and culture life. However, many cases of discrimination have been identified in the field of employment and the labour market.

Article 13 of the EC Treaty, introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam, specifically empowers the Community to combat discrimination based on sex, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The Member States ban discrimination in the field of employment and occupation. However, the scope of this prohibition, its content and enforceability vary from country to country. Hence this Directive is designed to lay down a general minimum framework in this area.

Scope

The proposal concerns the following areas:

  • conditions of access to employed or self-employed activities, including promotion;
  • vocational training;
  • employment and working conditions (including pay and dismissals);
  • membership of and involvement in an organisation of employers or workers or any other organisation whose members carry on a particular profession.

This applies as much to the public sector as to the private sector including public bodies as well as for paid and unpaid work.

The concept of discrimination

The proposal for a directive aims to combat both direct discrimination (differential treatment based on a specific characteristic) and indirect discrimination (any provision, criterion or practice which is neutral on its face but is liable to adversely affect one or more specific individuals or incite discrimination). Harassment, which creates a hostile environment, is deemed to be discrimination. Reasonable arrangements must be made to guarantee the principle of equal treatment for disabled persons, limiting it to cases which do not involve unjustified difficulties.

Cases in which differences in treatment are authorised

  • Genuine occupational qualifications

In certain cases differences in treatment may be justified by the nature of the post or the conditions in which the job is performed.

  • Differences in treatment on grounds of age

Differences in treatment on grounds of age are permissible when they are objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate labour market aim and are appropriate and necessary to the achievement of that aim (protection of young people and older workers, requirements as to the extent of job experience, etc.).

  • Positive action

Member States have the right to maintain and adopt measures intended to prevent or compensate for existing inequalities (measures to promote the integration of young people, the transition from work to retirement, etc.).

Minimum requirements

The proposal contains a “non-regression” clause which concerns Member States whose legislation provides for a higher level of protection than that afforded by the Directive.

Remedies and application of the law

Despite affirmation of the principle of equal treatment between men and women by Community law, enforcement of this principle has proved extremely difficult in practice. For this reason the proposal includes a series of mechanisms to ensure effective remedies in the event of discrimination.

These mechanisms rely on:

  • improvement of legal protection by reinforcing access to justice or to conciliation procedures (both in the form of individual access and by empowering organisations to exercise this right on behalf of a victim;
  • shifting the burden of proof: once facts have been established from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination, the burden of proof lies with the defendant, in compliance with Directive 97/80 and the case law of the Court of Justice in the case of sex discrimination;
  • protection of victims of discrimination against reprisals, and notably dismissal;
  • dissemination of adequate information on the Directive’s provisions (once adopted) to vocational training and educational bodies and within the workplace.

The social partners have a crucial role to play in combating discrimination. Hence Member States must take adequate measures to promote the social dialogue between the two sides of industry with a view to fostering the principle of equal treatment, through the monitoring of workplace practices, codes of conduct, exchange of experiences and good practices, etc.

Discriminatory national provisions must be abolished or declared null and void. Sanctions will be imposed by Member States in the event of infringement of the principle of equal treatment.

The Member States must communicate to the Commission, within two years of the entry into force of the Directive and then every five years, all the information necessary for the Commission to draw up a report to the European Parliament and the Council on its application.

The Directive includes a impact assessment form in respect of companies and in particular SMEs.

Background

The Directive is part of a series of measures aiming to combat discrimination. Besides this act, the package includes a Communication from the Commission outlining the general framework of the action taken, a Directive on the equal treatment on grounds of racial and ethnic origin as well as an action programme to combat discrimination (2001-2006).

The Directive does not take into account discrimination on gender grounds as this principle is already part of Community legislation (in particular Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions and Council Directive 86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2000/78/EC

2.12.2000

2.12.2003

L 303 of 2.12.2000

Equal opportunities for people with disabilities

Equal opportunities for people with disabilities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Equal opportunities for people 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

Equal opportunities for people with disabilities

The aim of these two texts is to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities by incorporating disability issues into Community policies and to consolidate cooperation between Member States in preventing all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of the Commission of 30 July 1996 on equality of opportunity for people with disabilities: A New European Community Disability Strategy [COM(96) 406 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 20 December 1996 on equality of opportunity for people with disabilities [Official Journal C 12 of 13.01.1997].

Summary

Communication

One out of ten citizens in the European Community has a disability, which may be of a physical, sensory, mental or psychic nature.

There are still a number of obstacles to the integration of people with disabilities into society:

  • in education, many children with disabilities are excluded from mainstream schools and are confined to institutions which give them no opportunity for normal social interaction;
  • in the field of employment, a great number of people with disabilities within the working age are excluded from the labour market; they are also two to three times more likely to be unemployed and to be so for longer periods than the rest of the working population;
  • many transport systems and public buildings continue to be inaccessible or accessible only with difficulty to people with disabilities;
  • as regards housing, suitably adapted or adaptable accommodation is in short supply and prohibitively expensive;
  • welfare systems tend to provide a minimum level of support, falling some way short of achieving the goal of integration.

Historically, the response to disability has been mainly one of social compensation through charity and the development of specialist caring services outside the mainstream of society. However necessary and well intentioned they might be, such responses have compounded the problem of exclusion and under-participation.

The traditional approaches are slowly giving way to a stronger emphasis on identifying and removing the various barriers to equal opportunities and full participation in all aspects of life.

Responsibility for eliminating exclusion and discrimination based on disability lies primarily with the Member States. The new approach is already being implemented in all the Member States, in different ways and at different speeds.

The Commission considers that Community-level involvement can bring significant added value to the efforts of the Member States. The strategy will be organised along the following lines:

  • consolidation of the cooperation with and between the Member States: establishment of a high-level group of Member State representatives on disability,
  • development of social dialogue focusing on disability-related issues;
  • continued support for non-governmental organisations working in the field of disability to encourage European cooperation;
  • incorporation of disability issues into the formulation of Community policy proposals: an interdepartmental group focussed on issues relating to disability has been set up by the Commission.
  • strengthening of measures to prevent long-term unemployment and to integrate disabled people into working life in line with the European employment strategy;
  • assessment of the extent and impact of Structural Fund action targeting people with disabilities, with particular reference to combating social exclusion.

Resolution

The Council reaffirms its commitment to equal opportunities for people with disabilities and to the principle of avoiding or abolishing all forms of negative discrimination based solely on disability.

The Council calls upon the Member States to ascertain whether their policies take account of the need to eliminate all obstacles to full participation in social life by disabled people and to educate public opinion to be receptive to the abilities of disabled people. Member States are equally encouraged to promote the participation of disabled people in the implementing and following-up of the policies and relevant actions.

The Council calls upon the Commission to integrate the dimension of “equality of opportunity for people with disabilities” into all its relevant proposals and to encourage the exchange of useful information and experience, particularly with regard to innovative policies and good practice. The Commission is also called upon to present periodic reports summarising the progress made and obstacles encountered in implementing the resolution on the basis of information supplied by the Member States.

Related Acts

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 17 June 1999 on equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities [Official Journal C 186 of 02.07.1999].

The Council calls on the Member States to:

  • place particular emphasis on the promotion of employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to develop preventive and active policies to promote their integration into the labour market;
  • make full use of the existing and future possibilities of the European Structural Funds, in particular the European Social Fund;
  • attach particular attention to the possibilities offered by the development of the information society.

The Council invites the social partners at all levels to play an increasing role in creating improved employment opportunities and negotiated work organisation changes in cooperation with people with disabilities.

The Council invites people with disabilities themselves and their organisations to make their contribution towards the goal of equal employment opportunities by sharing and exchanging their experience with all those involved in the labour market..

The Council encourages the Community institutions to promote equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities within their own services.

The Council calls upon the Commission to work together with the Member States, in particular within the framework of the European employment guidelines, to monitor and analyse the development of the employment of people with disabilities and to develop new strategies and campaigns, taking into consideration national, regional and local differences.

The Council affirms that, in the framework of a coherent global policy, equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities will be enhanced if specific attention is given to areas such as workplace accommodation, access to the place of work, qualifications and skills required at work and access to vocational guidance and placement services.

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 15 July 2003 on promoting the employment and social integration of people with disabilities [Official Journal C 175 of 24.07.2003].

The Council calls on the Member States and the Commission, within the framework of their respective powers, to take new and concrete measures to promote the employment and social integration of people with disabilities.