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Equality Law in Practice Report on the Implementation of the Race and General Framework Directives

July 5th 2013
Members of Equinet’s Working Group (WG) on Equality Law in Practice have met twice to discuss the implementation of the Race and the General Framework Directives in their Member States. They have submitted contributions to Equinet which have been gathered into this paper with a view to feed into the European Commission’s Report on the Implementation of the Directives. The Group is in a unique position to comment on the implementation of the Directives across Europe, with members from 23 national equality bodies.
There was a high degree of agreement among WG members as to where further clarification of the Directives’ provisions would be required in order to facilitate the better implementation of the Directives and to enhance their effectiveness.

The WG concluded that a greater approximation of domestic law could also be required in the implementation of certain provisions to ensure equality across the Member States and a homogeneous implementation of EU law. Experiences of the WG members show that, subject to subsidiarity, the standardisation of protection and remedies would enhance equality and freedom of movement between Member States.

The WG also recommends some new measures to combat discrimination for the consideration of the European Commission.

Key findings and conclusions

These key findings are based on the collective experiences of the equality bodies represented in the Working Group (WG) in their role as statutory mechanisms with a mandate to provide independent assistance to victims of discrimination, to conduct independent surveys, to publish independent reports and to make recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination.

There was a widespread agreement among WG members regarding the areas which could usefully be strengthened or interpreted in the Directives or which presented particular difficulties. The main areas identified and discussed in the next chapters are:

1. Scope of the Directives

2. Requirement for an national equality body to be established under the General Framework Directive

3. The need for standards for equality bodies in order to guarantee their independence and effectiveness

4. Competencies of equality bodies

5. Discrimination on perceived grounds/on grounds of association with someone with a protected characteristic

6. The definition of disability

7. The scope of protection provided against victimisation

8. The definition of service and the type of services covered by the directives

9. The scope of the nationality exemption and its interplay with discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin and race

10. Sanctions: monitoring across Member States to ensure that they are effective, dissuasive and proportionate (with the possibility of standardising sanctions and the levels of compensation)

11. The correct implementation of provisions on indirect discrimination

12. The boundaries between education and vocational training

13. The rules on the burden of proof in cases of victimisation and on reasonable accommodation

14. The scope of positive action measures to enhance Member States’ ability to introduce such measures with a view to ensuring full equality in practice

15. Extending the scope of the Directives to include provisions on multiple discrimination

16. Extending the scope of the Directives to provide protection to volunteers.


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