The European Institutions are in a moment of transition. There is new leadership and new personnel in place after the elections to the European Parliament and the appointment of a new European Commission. There are new policies promised and in preparation as a spectrum of equality and equality-related policy strategies come to the end of their term.
Key equal treatment legislation, the ‘Race’ Directive and the Employment Directive is under review with the five-yearly report on Directives in preparation by the European Commission. This review will include an examination of the situation of equality bodies in relation to the European Commission Recommendation on standards for equality bodies.
In all this period of change, there is evident and welcome ambition behind the focus on equality and commitment to give full expression to the value of equality adopted in the European Treaties. Equality bodies, given their mandate, functions and track record, have a unique contribution to realising this new ambition and to giving practical expression to such strengthened commitment.
This unique contribution flows from their mandate to combat discrimination and promote equality. It draws from their work at Member State level in: enforcing equal treatment legislation; promoting good equality practice; providing policy advice; deepening the knowledge base on equality; and engaging in public discourse to stimulate a valuing of equality. It is enriched by their experience of working on multiple grounds, including and stretching beyond those of gender, racial and ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability, and sexual orientation.
This contribution is offered at European level, through Equinet, in gathering and analysing the learning from the work of equality bodies at Member State level and communicating its implications and indications for European policy. Equinet seeks to contribute to this current moment of transition in the European Institutions with this ‘perspective’. This ‘perspective’ seeks to draw out the learning from the work of equality bodies that might inform the:
This ‘perspective’ has been developed on the basis of a questionnaire circulated to all Equinet members, attached in Annex One. The results of this questionnaire were discussed and the framework for the ‘perspective’ developed at a working meeting of Equinet’s Policy Formation Working Group. The final draft ‘perspective’ was subject to discussion and approval by the Board of Equinet. Twenty-four equality bodies in twenty-two jurisdictions completed the survey