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Home >> Equinet Activities >> Events >> Equinet Conference: Investing in Equality

Equinet Conference: Investing in Equality

April 27th 2018

Brussels, 1 June 2018

This conference is convened to address the challenges to equality, discuss European-level solutions and identify the role equality bodies can play in these. It targets equality bodies, European institutions, international organisations, national authorities and civil society working on equality.

This conference is organized the day after a Townhall Discussion, organised with the UN Human Rights, Regional Office for Europe (OHCHR), on the theme of "Anti-Discrimination and Equality Law in Europe - Horizontal Directive" taking place on the evening of 31 May 2018.

When: 1 June 2018
Where: Brussels
Registration Deadline: 21 May 2018


Equality, together with respect for human dignity and for human rights, non-discrimination, tolerance, and gender equality, is a founding value of the European Union. One of the six substantive chapters of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU is dedicated to equality. The Union has legislative powers to advance equality and non-discrimination and these values are powerfully expressed in EU equality legislation and most recently in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Importantly, the EU is currently devising its new Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), defining its budget for the next decade.

Equality and non-discrimination are also at the core of the international human rights framework. Freedom from discrimination is the only right set out in all nine of the core UN human rights treaties. Similarly, non-discrimination is a horizontal requirement in the Council of Europe’s treaties.

Unfortunately, the reality on the ground does not fulfil the aspirations and guarantees of these international treaties. In fact, levels of inequality, intolerance and discrimination are on the rise amidst a populist discourse that is often hostile to these fundamental values and challenges these values and their supporters as expressions of disingenuous political correctness. This is despite the fact that equality and non-discrimination are part of the declared constitutional traditions of most, if not all, countries.

Equality bodies are statutory institutions set up pursuant to the EU’s Race Directive in all EU Member States to promote equality and combat discrimination. They are part and parcel of the national infrastructure for equality, together with strong civil society. Equality bodies have a demonstrated potential in triggering positive change at societal, institutional and individual levels, but only if they are vested with independence, adequate powers and resources. This is unfortunately not the case in all European countries.

Conference Objectives

  • Discuss the place of equality and non-discrimination as fundamental horizontal values in the next EU MFF and the contribution of EU funds to equality and non-discrimination;
  • Discuss ways to ensure political commitment to equality and non-discrimination at all levels;
  • Discuss the role of equality legislation, ways to ensure optimal implementation of existing legislation and the need for completing the legal framework for equality
  • Discuss the role of strong, independent equality bodies in safeguarding the value of equality

Draft Agenda

Draft Agenda
Draft Agenda

(updated 18 May 2018)

For further information on the content, please contact Tamás Kádár:


External Participants: Registration by 21 May 2018

Equinet Members: Registration by 21 May 2018

For logistical support, please contact Anita Marullo:

Townhall Discussion on Anti-Discrimination and Equality Law in Europe. Draft “Horizontal Directive”: Next Steps to Advance the Debate

When: 31 May 2018
Where: Brussels

This Town Hall Discussion is an opportunity for YOU to make your voice heard!

The adoption of a comprehensive EU Anti-discrimination Directive would strengthen protection against discrimination on the grounds of disability, age, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

If adopted, millions of Europeans would benefit.

Further information available via the Facebook event.

Important Information for Speakers and Members: Travel Procedure

Equinet will organise travel and accommodation for members and speakers directly and to this end has commissioned the assistance of the Belgian Air Travel agency.

Participants who need a flight or a train to get to the event location are requested to communicate the following information:

  • Name of the Equinet event
  • Full name as it appears on your travel documents
  • Travel document type, number and expiry date
  • Date of birth
  • Airport of departure
  • Preferred time of the day for departure

We remind you that it is not allowed to book flights for stays longer than what is necessary to attend the event.

The information should be sent by email to:

They will return to you as soon as possible with the most suitable offer.

Please note that all participants are required to keep the original boarding passes used for traveling and mail them back to the Equinet office with your expense claim. Failure to provide original boarding passes will result in your expense claim being rejected.

By registering to this event, you firmly commit yourself to participate in the event. Equinet will spend money based on your registration to guarantee Members’ accommodation. Should you need to cancel your registration at short notice, Equinet may be forced to charge any cancellation costs back to your organisation(exceptions might be considered for force majeure reasons).