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Equinet welcomes three new members and its new Executive Board

November 29th 2013

The Equinet Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on the 28th of November 2013 in Brussels and gathered representatives of equality bodies from across Europe to reflect on Equinet’s work over the past year and to discuss and take decisions for the future of the network.

Highlights from Equinet’s Work Plan for 2014

Focus of our Working Groups
- Equality Law in Practice: positive actions
- Communication Strategies and Practices: media library of equality bodies’ campaigns and initiatives
- Strategy Development: strategic planning
- Policy Formation: institutional architecture of equality bodies and religion and belief
- Gender Equality: goods and services and harassment and sexual harassment

Events open to the public
- Legal seminar on anti-discrimination legislation and jurisprudence
- Gender seminar on access to goods and services

Other activities
- Paper on the contribution of equality bodies to the EU2020 Strategy
- Good practice guide on equality bodies’ recommendations to policy-makers
- Online Directory of European Equality Bodies
- MEPs information kit on equality bodies
- Ad-hoc initiative on violence against women

Membership growth

Following unanimous ratification of new membership applications, Equinet is pleased to welcome three new members raising Equinet’s membership to 41 national equality bodies (NEBs) from across Europe:
- Ombudsperson for Gender Equality, Croatia (Overview)
- National Equality Councillor, Italy (Overview)
- National Commission for Persons with Disability, Malta (Overview)

Looking ahead to the next Strategic Plan

Members had the opportunity to discuss main issues concerning the preparation for the next Equinet Strategic Plan. The main topics of dedicated parallel discussion groups included:

- key external changes, challenges and opportunities in the political, institutional and legal environment affecting the work and priorities of NEBs and Equinet,
- key objectives in the future and the evolving needs of NEBs,
- current Equinet structures and working groups, and
- key messages that NEBs and Equinet need to communicate

Perspectives from EU institutions

High-level representatives of European Institutions also contributed to the AGM by presenting updates and sharing their views with equality bodies on current EU perspectives for non-discrimination. Equinet had the pleasure to welcome Mr. Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea (Director for Equality, Directorate General Justice, European Commission) and Mr. Raül Romeva I Rueda (Member of the European Parliament), who shared their input and concerns on important developments in the field of equality at European level.

Election of new Executive Board

During the AGM elections were held for the new Equinet Executive Board (2013 - 2015). Following the election results, the Board is composed of the following members:

- Evelyn COLLINS (Chair), Chief Executive, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
- Anna BŁASZCZAK, Deputy Director of the Constitutional and International Law Department, Human Rights Defender, Poland
- Michiel BONTE, Head of Service - Discrimination Department, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Belgium
- István HALLER, Member of the Steering Board, National Council for Combating Discrimination, Romania
- Sandra RIBEIRO, President, Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, Portugal
- Mari-Liis SEPPER, Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner, Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner, Estonia
- Tena ŠIMONOVIĆ EINWALTER, Deputy Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudswoman, Croatia
- Therese SPITERI (Treasurer), Manager, National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, Malta
- Néphèli YATROPOULOS, Advisor to the Defender on European and International Affairs, Defender of Rights, France
More information and photos to follow.