On 9 November, the General Assembly of Equinet members met for its second meeting of the year. Bringing together the heads of equality bodies from across Europe, they voted on a number of governance items, as well as electing Equinet’s new Executive Board. The 2022 Work Plan was voted in our first General Assembly in September.
The new Executive Board brings together 9 high-level representatives from equality bodies across Europe. Made up of a mixture of new and old Board members, they will guide the implementation of our upcoming yearly work plans, as well as the development of our strategic plan for 2023-2026. We warmly welcome and congratulate:
In addition, we welcome the unanimous agreement to choosing Laurence Bond (IHREC, Ireland) as the new Chair of the Executive Board.
Irena Moozova, (Director for Equality, European Commission, DG Justice and Consumers) joined our Annual General Meeting to update members on a number of important equality developments at European level. She emphasized the excellent working relationship with Equinet and how much the EC values our cooperation. Recent equality strategies proposed by the Commission have all emphasized the importance of equality bodies, and this will be reinforced next year with a proposal for new binding standards to strengthen equality bodies. She outlined the timeline relating to this legislative proposal on equality bodies, starting with a public consultation opening very soon. She looks forward to the participation of national equality bodies in all phases of this exciting new proposal.
In addition, Moozova highlighted some important developments within the European equality framework. The Pay Transparency Directive will be a key deliverable under the gender equality strategy, with equality bodies as key enforcement bodies under EU law. The Work Life Balance Directive calling for equal access and balance of work and caring responsibilities by both men and women ends its transposition period in August 2022, and the EC will count on equality bodies to support efforts to ensure its enforcement. On the issue of violence against women, the EC is looking at a two-fold strategy: 1) Accession to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and 2) a self-standing initiative to tackle gender based violence. Finally, under the guise of the Anti-Racism Action Plan, the EC has started looking at the gaps in relation to the Racial Equality Directive, and is grateful to Equinet for its recent input on that (read our brief ‘Assessing Gaps in the Racial Equality Directive’ here.)
Finally, a big thank you went out to all members for actively participating in this Annual General Meeting, as well as to the staff of the Secretariat for their preparation of the event. A very special thank you was also dedicated to those members of the board who have just finished their mandate (Konstantinos Bartzeliotis – Greece, Patrick Charlier – Belgium, Sandra Konstatsky – Austria), as well as to Tena Šimonović Einwalter for finishing up her mandate as Equinet Chair.