Tag Archives: Equality

Investing in people

Investing in people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Investing in people

Topics

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

Development > General development framework

Investing in people

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 January 2006, “Investing in people” [COM(2006) 18 – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The current legislative framework governing external action has to be simplified. To this end, within the financial perspectives 2007-2013, the Commission is proposing six new instruments to meet two main objectives:

  • horizontal instruments to respond to particular needs and circumstances;
  • instruments designed to implement particular policies with specific geographical coverage (geographical programmes).

These instruments are to provide the legal basis for Community expenditure in support of external cooperation programmes and replace the existing thematic regulations.

Forming part of this new external assistance architecture, the new thematic programme “Investing in people” provides a number of advantages:

  • improved consistency among EU policies;
  • a framework for sharing know-how;
  • improved monitoring, data collection and analysis;
  • greater emphasis placed on innovation;
  • a higher international profile.

Social and human development: recent developments

In addition to the wealth of experience built up at national and international level, several assessments and evaluations have been carried out recently in the following areas:

  • poverty diseases, sexual health, gender equality;
  • education;
  • employment and social cohesion;
  • culture.

The Commission’s analysis highlighted the need for a holistic and coherent thematic approach to human and social development, which must back up the various national initiatives. The programme “Investing in people” could pave the way for the development of European-level strategies that would respond effectively to the new priorities for health, education, social policy and culture in the field of human and social development.

The thematic programme

The focus of the thematic programme is on six different areas of action: health, knowledge and skills, culture, employment and social cohesion, gender equality, youth and children.

In order to ensure access to health care for all, the programme sets out to:

  • mobilise global public goods to combat and prevent diseases;
  • support innovative health measures;
  • improve the regulatory framework;
  • increase political and public awareness and education;
  • improve technical resources.

In the field of access to knowledge and skills, the measures taken to support national programmes consist mainly in:

  • supporting low-income countries for the development of successful education policies;
  • promoting reciprocal learning via international exchanges of experience and good practice;
  • promoting transnational university cooperation and the mobility of students and researchers at international level;
  • developing a broader framework for monitoring and data assessment;
  • promoting schooling for marginalised and vulnerable children.

In the field of culture, the new thematic programme should make for:

  • the bringing together of peoples and cultures on an equal footing, while preserving diversity;
  • greater international cooperation to fully exploit the economic potential of the cultural sector.

To reduce socio-economic inequalities, the new thematic programme will focus on social cohesion and employment, and will do this in three different ways, by:

  • promoting of the “decent work for all” agenda through global and multinational initiatives;
  • supporting initiatives to promote the improvement of working conditions as well as the adjustment to trade liberalisation;
  • promoting the social dimension of globalisation and the EU’s experience.

A fundamental human right, gender equality is already the subject of country action, which the new thematic programme will complement by:

  • supporting the various programmes that contribute to achieving the objectives of the Beijing Declaration;
  • backing the efforts of civil society organisations;
  • helping to include the gender perspective in statistics.

Finally, the thematic programme will place the interests of young people and children at the centre of European action, by:

  • drawing countries’ attention to children and youth issues and enhancing their capacity to address these issues in external action;
  • supporting regional, inter-regional and global initiatives in key areas, such as preventing all forms of child labour, human trafficking and sexual violence;
  • supporting the youth employment network;
  • supporting efforts to promote young people and children in situations and regions where bilateral cooperation has limitations;
  • supporting the monitoring of data, the development of policies, the exchange of information, awareness-raising campaigns and innovative initiatives in all areas that affect young people and children.

Background

Human and social development is part of the “European Consensus” on development policy. This statement is the cornerstone of the Union’s international commitments as set out in the Millennium Declaration, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development, the Beijing Platform for Action on gender equality and the September 2005 UN Summit.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on “External Actions through Thematic Programmes under the Future Financial Perspectives 2007 – 2013” [COM(2005) 324 final – not published in the Official Journal]

Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015

Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015

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

Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 21 September 2010 – Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 [COM(2010) 491 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Strategy follows on from the roadmap 2006-2010 for equality between women and men. It takes up the priorities defined by the women’s charter and forms the Commission’s work programme. It also outlines the key actions planned for the period 2010-2015.

This Strategy also acts a basis for the cooperation between the Commission and the other European institutions, Member States and other stakeholders, as part of the European Pact for equality between women and men.

Economic independence of women

The female employment rate has increased significantly during the past decade. However, this progression needs to continue if the objective of a 75% employment rate, as set by the Europe 2020 strategy, is to be met. It also needs to be extended to those groups of women with the lowest employment rates. Progress is needed in order to improve the quality of jobs and work/life reconciliation policies.

The Commission will undertake initiatives aimed at:

  • promoting equality as part of the Europe 2020 strategy and through EU funding;
  • promoting female entrepreneurship and self-employment;
  • assessing workers’ rights with regard to leave for family reasons;
  • assessing Member States’ performance with regard to childcare facilities;
  • supporting gender equality in matters of immigration and the integration of migrants.

Equal pay

The Commission highlights that the gender pay gap still exists, including for equal work and work of equal value. There are many causes of this pay gap, in particular, segregation in education and in the labour market.

In order to contribute towards eliminating unequal pay, the Commission will:

  • with social partners, explore possible ways to improve the transparency of pay;
  • support equal pay initiatives in the workplace such as equality labels, ‘charters’ and awards;
  • institute a European Equal Pay Day;
  • seek to encourage women to enter non-traditional professions, for example in the ‘green’ and innovative sectors.

Equality in decision-making

Women are under-represented in the decision-making process, both in parliaments and national governments and on management boards of large companies, despite making up half the workforce and more than half of new university graduates in the EU.

The Commission will:

  • propose targeted initiatives to improve the situation;
  • monitor progress made towards achieving the 25% target for women in top-level decision-making positions in research;
  • promote an increase in the number of women in the committees and expert groups established by the Commission, with the aim of achieving at least 40% female membership;
  • promote greater participation of women in European Parliament elections.

Dignity, integrity and an end to gender-based violence

According to estimates, 20 to 25% of women living in the EU have suffered physical violence at least once during their lives and up to half a million women living in Europe have been subjected to genital mutilation.

The Commission will:

  • propose an EU-wide strategy on combating violence;
  • ensure that EU asylum legislation takes account of gender equality considerations;
  • monitor gender issues in the field of health.

Gender equality in external actions

The EU’s external policy will contribute towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. In this respect, the Commission will:

  • progress equal treatment between women and men in the candidate and potential candidate countries for accession to the EU;
  • implement the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (2010-2015);
  • conduct a regular dialogue and exchange of experience with the European Neighbourhood Policy partner countries;
  • integrate equal treatment considerations into humanitarian aid operations.

Horizontal issues

The Commission is committed to progressing equal treatment between women and men, paying particular attention to:

  • the role of men in gender equality;
  • disseminating good practice on redefining gender roles in youth, education, culture and sport;
  • the correct implementation of European legislation, particularly Directive 2004/113/EC on equal treatment in the access to and supply of goods and services and Directive 2006/54/EC on equal opportunities;
  • the governance and tools of gender equality, particularly through the drafting of an annual report on gender equality in order to contribute to a yearly top-level Gender Equality Dialogue involving the European Parliament, the Commission, Member States and key stakeholders.

Report on equality between women and men 2006

Report on equality between women and men 2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on equality between women and men 2006

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Report on equality between women and men 2006

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, of 22 February 2006, on equality between women and men – 2006 [COM(2006) 71 final – Official Journal C 67 of 18.03.2006].

Summary

Gender policies contribute to employment and growth. In the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, gender equality is recognised to be essential in meeting labour market challenges. Between 1999 and 2004, three quarters of the new jobs created in the European Union (EU) were filled by women.

However, the persistence of gender gaps underlines that more can be done to tap into the productive potential of women, particularly in terms of work-life balance. It is necessary to step up efforts to help men and women reconcile work and their private responsibilities at all stages in their lives.

State of play and main developments

Further steps forward were taken in 2005 in the area of equality for women and men:

  • Commission announcement of a communication on a “Roadmap for equality between women and men” in 2006 which will identify challenges and actions for the EU up to 2010;
  • adoption of an amended proposal for a Directive to simplify and modernise existing Community legislation on equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment;
  • creation of equality bodies;
  • the proposal to set up a European Institute for Gender Equality;
  • adoption by the social partners, in the context of the European social dialogue, of a Framework of Actions for Gender Equality (four priorities: addressing gender roles, promoting women in decision-making, supporting work-life balance and tackling the gender pay gap);
  • adoption of a common agenda for the integration of third country nationals (gender equality in immigration, trafficking in human beings, sexual exploitation, domestic labour exploitation);
  • adoption by the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament of a Joint Statement on “The European Consensus on Development”, which identified gender equality as one of the five key principles of the development policy;
  • integration of gender equality as a priority of the EU’s new Strategy for Africa.

Moreover, in its conclusions of 18 April 2005, the Competitiveness Council underlined the increasing importance given to gender equality in science and access for women to leading positions. However, Member States must take further steps to increase the number of women in research positions.

2005 also marked the 10th anniversary celebration of the Beijing Platform for Action, on which occasion governments worldwide took stock of the progress made so far. Although much had been achieved, there were still areas of concern, including women’s access to education, property, work and health care, maternal mortality and the situation of women, particularly in Africa.

Gender equality and employment

In the area of employment, disparities between men and women have steadily fallen in the last decade, mainly thanks to the massive increase in the entry of women into the labour market. The employment rate among women in the EU rose to 55.7% in 2004, up 0.7 percentage points compared with 2003. The employment rate gap was reduced to 15.2 points in 2004.

However, the figures vary considerably from one country to another. In terms of employment rates, the gap between women and men is less than 10% in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Baltic countries, and more than 20% in Cyprus, Malta, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Greece.

Despite this generally positive picture, significant imbalances still exist. Women

  • are involved mainly in traditionally “female” activities and occupations, which has reinforced segregation in the labour market;
  • are more involved in part-time work than men (32.6% of women in employment against only 7.4% of men in employment). Here the figures also vary greatly from one country to another. For example, fewer than 10% of women in employment work part-time in Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Greece, while in Luxembourg, Belgium, United Kingdom and Germany almost 40% of women who work do so on a part-time basis. In the Netherlands, this figure is as high as 75%;
  • have more difficulties related to work-life balance, and this affects their career. Within enterprises, women account for only 32% of managers. Only 10% of members of the boards and 3% of CEOs of the larger EU enterprises are women. In education and research there are many female graduates (43% of PhDs are women), yet their presence decreases consistently as they progress on the career ladder (only 15% of full professors are women);
  • are the victims of a significant pay gap. On average, women earn 15% less than men for every hour worked;
  • are at greater risk of social exclusion than men. The risk of poverty, in particular, is higher amongst older women and amongst single mothers with dependant children.

Policy orientations

In light of the above, the Commission reaffirms its commitment to the Community approach, combining gender mainstreaming and specific positive actions.

The Commission encourages the Member States and social partners to take action to:

  • reduce the employment rate gap between women and men;
  • scale down the pay gap and attack its underlying causes;
  • ensure the quality of jobs and a good work environment;
  • reform tax and benefits systems in order to make the labour market more attractive;
  • ensure the full support of the Structural Funds through the effective integration of a gender perspective in strategy and programming documents, and adequate funding for specific gender equality actions.

In addition, to promote an effective reconciliation of work and private life, Member States should:

  • step up their efforts to meet the Barcelona targets for childcare (providing childcare for 33% of children aged 0 to 3 years and 90% of children from 3 years to compulsory school age by 2010);
  • support the development of care for older and disabled persons;
  • promote and disseminate innovative and adaptable work arrangements that take into account the different needs at different stages of life;
  • make access to public services compatible with work schedules;
  • tackle sexist stereotypes and encourage men to take up their domestic and family responsibilities.

At political level, the Commission encourages the Member States to:

  • promote partnership and dialogue between all parties at the policy making and implementation stages;
  • strengthen their implementation of the principle of gender mainstreaming into all relevant policy areas;
  • reinforce gender mainstreaming in all chapters of the National Reform Programmes (NRPs);
  • support the good functioning of the national machinery in support of gender equality, including the equality bodies;
  • ensure that gender bias is avoided in policy monitoring.

Finally, to give gender equality its international dimension:

  • Member States should take concrete steps to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • developing countries should be supported in their efforts in this area by appropriate technical and financial assistance from the EU;
  • Member States should take into account the gender perspective in partnerships with non-EU countries and in development strategies;
  • acceding, candidate and potential candidate countries should continue to be supported in their efforts to transpose, implement and enforce the Community acquis as well as to create the necessary institutions to apply it.

 

Report on equality between women and men – 2008

Report on equality between women and men – 2008

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Report on equality between women and men – 2008

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Report on equality between women and men – 2008

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 January 2008, Equality between women and men – 2008 [COM(2008) 10 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This year, the European Commission is publishing its fifth report on equality between women and men, the first to cover the enlarged European Union (EU) of 27 Member States.

Gender gap: main developments

The figures for recent years show that the situation of women on the labour market in Europe is subject to two-tier development:

  • major progress in terms of quantity, on the one hand;
  • quality of employment remaining unfavourable in many respects on the other hand.

Female employment is still the driving force behind growth in employment within the European Union (EU):

  • 7.5 of the 12 million new jobs created since 2000 are held by women;
  • the female employment rate is currently 57.2% (+ 3.5 points in comparison to 2000, in contrast to the increase by less than one point for men);
  • the employment rate for women over 55 years has increased more rapidly than that for men in the same age range (it is currently 34.8%, i.e. an increase of 7.4 points in comparison to 2000);
  • a significant narrowing of the employment rate gap between men and women, falling from 17.1 points in 2000 to 14.4 points in 2006.

This point, given the fact that women have better success rates at school and university (59%), generally raises the question of the quality of work for women:

  • the pay gap has stabilised at 15% since 2003 (it was 16% in 2000);
  • sectoral and occupational segregation by gender is not diminishing and is even increasing in some countries;
  • the proportion of female managers in businesses has stagnated at 33% and there is very little progression in the numbers of female politicians;
  • the balance between professional and private life remains precarious (the employment rate for mothers with young children is only 62.4% compared with 91.4% for fathers);
  • 76.5% of part-time workers are women;
  • recourse to temporary work is also more common among women (15.1% compared with approximately 14% for men).

This occupational imbalance is not without effect on the social situation of women:

  • long-term unemployment is still more common among women (4.5% compared with 3.5% for men);
  • the risk of poverty, particularly among women over the age of 65 (21%, i.e. 5% more than for men), is reinforced by shorter, slower and less well-paid careers.

Policy and legislative developments

The Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men, launched in 2006, has given fresh impetus to Community policy in this area. An annual work programme allows the Commission to ensure follow-up action.

In 2007, the Commission launched the second phase of formal consultation of the social partners at European level on the possible approach of Community action for the reconciliation of professional, private and family life with a view to improving or supplementing the existing framework.

The Commission has also given its support to the European .

Infringement proceedings for failure to transpose Directive 2002/73/EC on equal treatment have practically been wound up. Analysis of the conformity of national implementing measures started in 2007 and will be continued in 2008.

Furthermore, the Commission has demonstrated its full commitment to tackling the pay gap between women and men in its Communication of 18 July 2007.

Progress has also been achieved with the establishment of the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Challenges and policy guidelines

The report stresses the need to significantly improve the quality of employment for women, while confirming the progress achieved in terms of quantity.

With this in mind, and in particular through the new cycle of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs, it advocates concentrating structural, legislative and financial efforts on:

  • reducing differences in pay;
  • in-serve training;
  • health and welfare at work;
  • the reconciliation of professional and private life (accessibility of childcare services, the quality of services of general interest, etc.);
  • action to combat stereotypes linked to gender and cultural origin;
  • support for the implementation and follow-up of political commitments.

Background

In addition to the implementation of measures defined in the Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men, 2007 saw a number of major landmarks in connection with:

  • the contribution of the Commission to the establishment of common flexicurity principles;
  • the celebration of the 50th anniversary of European gender equality policy;
  • the launch of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All;
  • the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty, the basis for the European Employment Strategy and for gender mainstreaming in Community policies.

Roadmap for equality between women and men

Roadmap for equality between women and men

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Roadmap for equality between women and men

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

Roadmap for equality between women and men (2006-2010)

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 – A Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010 [COM(2006) 92 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The current roadmap outlines six priority areas. For each area, it identifies key objectives and actions which should facilitate their implementation. Despite the significant progress made through equal treatment legislation and the social dialogue, the European Union (EU) still faces considerable challenges.

Equal economic independence for women and men

  • Some of the Lisbon targets relate to the gender dimension, but the efforts made to achieve them must be strengthened, particularly as regards employment and unemployment rates for women.
  • Despite existing Community legislation, a 15% pay gap persists between women. This gap arises from structural inequalities in the labour market and direct discriminations.
  • Women constitute, on average, 30% of entrepreneurs in the EU. They often face greater difficulties than men in accessing finance and training.
  • The risk of poverty is greater for women than for men, as they are more likely to have interrupted careers and, therefore, fewer individual pension rights. Social protection systems should offer them adequate benefits.
  • Women and men are confronted with different health risks. Medical research, statistics and safety and health indicators relate in the majority to men and male-dominated work areas.
  • The EU is committed to combating the double discrimination immigrant women and those from ethnic minorities are subject to.

The reconciliation of private and professional life

  • Flexible working arrangements offer advantages both for employees and employers. However, women have recourse to the arrangements of reconciliation policies more often, which could have a negative impact on their professional position and their economic independence.
  • The EU faces a demographic decline and an ageing population, which has effects on the labour market. It is essential that access to childcare facilities and a work-life balance are made easier, and that the provision of services to the elderly is improved.
  • Measures which encourage men to take parental leave or to work part-time should be encouraged.

Equal representation in decision-making

  • Women’s persistent under-representation in civil society, politics and senior management in public administration is a democratic deficit.
  • The representation of women in economic decision-making can contribute to innovative and productive work, in particular in relation to flexible working and transparency in promotion processes.
  • Member States have set a target of 25% women in leading positions in the field of public sector research.

The eradication of all forms of gender-based violence

  • The EU combats violations of fundamental rights to life, safety, freedom, dignity and physical and emotional integrity. The EU leads actions against customary practices which violate these rights.
  • The Commission suggests criminalising the trafficking of women and at the same time discouraging the demand for human beings for sexual exploitation. The new Directive on residence permits for victims of trafficking should, in particular, enable their reintegration into the labour market.

The elimination of gender stereotypes

  • Education, training and culture should enable women to explore non-traditional educational paths and valued professional fields.
  • Women are generally employed in sectors that are less valued, and they generally occupy the lower echelons of the organisational hierarchy.
  • The media continue to convey gender stereotypes. It is essential that a regular dialogue takes place between the authorities and the stakeholders involved.

The promotion of gender equality in third countries

  • Under the framework of the enlargement process, accession, candidate or potential candidate countries are committed to transposing the Community acquis in terms of gender equality.
  • Equality between men and women has its own separate objective in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as in external and development policies.
  • The EU promotes internationally recognised principles such as the Millennium Development Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).

Key actions

The Commission will modernise the existing EU gender equality legislation. A 2006 recast of the legislation was carried out regarding opportunities and treatment. The Commission will ensure that the aspect of gender equality is incorporated as far as possible into all policies, such as the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs and in the new streamlined open method of coordination that covers pensions, social inclusion, health and long-term care.

Raising awareness is the main way of eliminating gender stereotypes. One action the Commission hopes to take is to develop dialogue with EU citizens through the plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate and the “Your Europe” portal.

The need for better statistics has arisen in most fields. New indicators and a new composite Gender Equality Index should make it easier to compare data at EU level. Statistics broken down by sex are also important.

More research is required on the gender dimension in health and on health and social sectors professions. Work will continue on the European database on women and men in decision-making. TheFramework Programme for Research and Technological Development may be used as an instrument to finance specific research.

At international level, the Beijing Platform, which is backed by the Commission, makes provision for better data collection capacity on gender mainstreaming in developing countries.

Financing

A new European Institute for Gender Equality, with EUR 50 million of funding, should play a key role in monitoring most of the above actions.

The PROGRESS programme finances action with a transversal dimension, given that gender equality is an aspect that is common to a number of policies. For this reason, the Commission should explore the possibilities of integrating and assessing the impact of the gender perspective in budgeting at EU level.

The Structural Funds are a major source of funding. The Structural Funds will also help achieve the Barcelona targets on childcare and the development of health care facilities.
The European Social Fund (ESF) plays a role in integrating women into the labour market, as well as in the integration of women from third countries into the EU, and in the elimination of stereotypes.

Context

A number of events should offer the opportunity to drive the gender equality agenda forward, in particular the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All in 2007 and the European Year of Combating Exclusion and Poverty in 2010, as well as the 2006 Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on gender equality.

The Commission must establish an EU network of women in economic and political decision-making positions, and a network of gender equality bodies. It works closely with NGOs and the social partners.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Mid-term progress report on the roadmap for equality between women and men (2006-2010) [COM(2008) 760 – Not published in the Official Journal].
This is a mid-term progress report on the results achieved since the adoption of the roadmap for 2006-2010. It was implemented through two annual work programmes and its objectives were strengthened in 2007 with the adoption of the European Pact for Gender Equality. The PROGRESS Programme has financed the transversal implementation of the roadmap in other policies, as well as communication actions.
The principal advances in terms of equality have been made in those domains which have been the focus of quantified objectives, common to Member States. Thus nearly all the domains affected by the roadmap have made progress. However, progress in the Member States is uneven and efforts are required to meet the objectives fixed for 2010. The Report makes a number of proposals in this respect:

  • improve governance, the Commission considers it necessary to bring together the commitment of all the stakeholders involved and to lead an evaluation of national and Community legislation, EU programmes and its budgetary procedures in order to better incorporate the principal of equality. International and European indicators should be improved, as well as the comparability of harmonised statistical data. It is essential that the European Institute for Gender Equality becomes operational in order to achieve the objectives of the roadmap;
  • increase awareness of social and economic challenges, in particular through the Lisbon Strategy, the renewed Social Agenda and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of social protection and social inclusion. Cohesion policies, education and research should be evaluated. Gender equality should be improved in decision-making, political and economic bodies, as well as in the media.

The final evaluation of the impact of these actions will be presented in 2010.

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].

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Charter of Fundamental Rights

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

Charter of Fundamental Rights

In June 1999, the Cologne European Council concluded that the fundamental rights applicable at European Union (EU) level should be consolidated in a charter to give them greater visibility. The heads of state/government aspired to include in the charter the general principles set out in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and those derived from the constitutional traditions common to EU countries. In addition, the charter was to include the fundamental rights that apply to EU citizens as well as the economic and social rights contained in the Council of Europe Social Charter and the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. It would also reflect the principles derived from the case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

The charter was drawn up by a convention consisting of a representative from each EU country and the European Commission, as well as members of the European Parliament and national parliaments. It was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

In December 2009, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the charter was given binding legal effect equal to the Treaties. To this end, the charter was amended and proclaimed a second time in December 2007.

Content

The charter brings together in a single document rights previously found in a variety of legislative instruments, such as in national and EU laws, as well as in international conventions from the Council of Europe, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). By making fundamental rights clearer and more visible, it creates legal certainty within the EU.

The Charter of Fundamental Rightscontains a preamble and 54 Articles, grouped in seven chapters:

  • chapter I: dignity (human dignity, the right to life, the right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labour);
  • chapter II: freedoms (the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to education, freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, freedom to conduct a business, the right to property, the right to asylum, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition);
  • chapter III: equality (equality before the law, non-discrimination, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, the rights of the child, the rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities);
  • chapter IV: solidarity (workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking, the right of collective bargaining and action, the right of access to placement services, protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work, family and professional life, social security and social assistance, health care, access to services of general economic interest, environmental protection, consumer protection);
  • chapter V: citizens’ rights (the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections, the right to good administration, the right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, the right to petition, freedom of movement and residence, diplomatic and consular protection);
  • chapter VI: justice (the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial, presumption of innocence and the right of defence, principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence);
  • chapter VII: general provisions.

Scope

The charter applies to the European institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and may under no circumstances extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the Treaties. The charter also applies to EU countries when they implement EU law.

If any of the rights correspond to rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, the meaning and scope of those rights is to be the same as defined by the convention, though EU law may provide for more extensive protection. Any of the rights derived from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries must be interpreted in accordance to those traditions.

Protocol (No) 30 to the Treaties on the application of the charter to Poland and the United Kingdom restricts the interpretation of the charter by the Court of Justice and the national courts of these two countries, in particular regarding rights relating to solidarity (chapter IV).


Another Normative about Charter of Fundamental Rights

Topics

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

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Charter of Fundamental Rights

In June 1999, the Cologne European Council concluded that the fundamental rights applicable at European Union (EU) level should be consolidated in a charter to give them greater visibility. The heads of state/government aspired to include in the charter the general principles set out in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and those derived from the constitutional traditions common to EU countries. In addition, the charter was to include the fundamental rights that apply to EU citizens as well as the economic and social rights contained in the Council of Europe Social Charter and the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. It would also reflect the principles derived from the case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

The charter was drawn up by a convention consisting of a representative from each EU country and the European Commission, as well as members of the European Parliament and national parliaments. It was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

In December 2009, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the charter was given binding legal effect equal to the Treaties. To this end, the charter was amended and proclaimed a second time in December 2007.

Content

The charter brings together in a single document rights previously found in a variety of legislative instruments, such as in national and EU laws, as well as in international conventions from the Council of Europe, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). By making fundamental rights clearer and more visible, it creates legal certainty within the EU.

The Charter of Fundamental Rightscontains a preamble and 54 Articles, grouped in seven chapters:

  • chapter I: dignity (human dignity, the right to life, the right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labour);
  • chapter II: freedoms (the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to education, freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, freedom to conduct a business, the right to property, the right to asylum, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition);
  • chapter III: equality (equality before the law, non-discrimination, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, the rights of the child, the rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities);
  • chapter IV: solidarity (workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking, the right of collective bargaining and action, the right of access to placement services, protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work, family and professional life, social security and social assistance, health care, access to services of general economic interest, environmental protection, consumer protection);
  • chapter V: citizens’ rights (the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections, the right to good administration, the right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, the right to petition, freedom of movement and residence, diplomatic and consular protection);
  • chapter VI: justice (the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial, presumption of innocence and the right of defence, principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence);
  • chapter VII: general provisions.

Scope

The charter applies to the European institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and may under no circumstances extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the Treaties. The charter also applies to EU countries when they implement EU law.

If any of the rights correspond to rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, the meaning and scope of those rights is to be the same as defined by the convention, though EU law may provide for more extensive protection. Any of the rights derived from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries must be interpreted in accordance to those traditions.

Protocol (No) 30 to the Treaties on the application of the charter to Poland and the United Kingdom restricts the interpretation of the charter by the Court of Justice and the national courts of these two countries, in particular regarding rights relating to solidarity (chapter IV).