Last week, Deputy Director Tamás Kádár represented Equinet at two Council of the EU meetings working on Fundamental Rights.
On 5 November at the joint meeting of the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens’ Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP) and Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM), addressing the topic of ‘Independent governmental bodies for the promotion and protection of fundamental and human rights’. We welcomed the strong commitment of Member States to strengthening equality bodies and other bodies working on promoting and protecting fundamental rights expressed in the Council Conclusions on the Charter of Fundamental Rights after 10 Years: State of Play and Future Work, adopted on 7 October. We demonstrated the benefits for the EU and Member States of engaging with independent equality bodies and spoke about the key components for creating an enabling environment for independent and effective equality bodies in the EU and beyond, including the importance of implementing European standards for equality bodies.
On 6 November at the meeting of the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens’ Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP), addressing the topic of ‘Fundamental rights challenges in 2020 and beyond’. Having to prioritise on such a broad topic, we decided to focus on horizontal issues, such as the need for a comprehensive legal framework for equal treatment allowing for an intersectional approach; Communicating and valuing equality and fundamental rights; Economic and social rights and discrimination based on socio-economic disadvantage; New Information Technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI); and Strong, independent and effective institutions.
Both occasions were remarkable and valuable given their topic, but also the fact that this is the first time Equinet has been invited to address these Council Working Parties. We hope that this is going to create a precedent for good cooperation with upcoming EU Presidencies as equality bodies have a lot to contribute to their work through bringing evidence and information about the situation of equality and the challenges of discrimination on the ground.
Just a few weeks before, Kádár had adressed the Council of Ministers responsible for employment and social policies, providing inputs to their discussions on EU equality legislation. Read his impressions from the meeting in his blog post below.