On Wednesday 10th September 2014, Equinet organised a roundtable event at the European Parliament. The event provided a platform for exchange between high-level representatives of National Equality Bodies and Members of the European Parliament on policy priorities in the area of equality and antidiscrimination, and on the learning from the work of equality bodies in implementing equal treatment legislation at national level.
In the EU, women earn around 16% less than men. Roma people face extremely high levels of social exclusion. One third of LGBT persons has already felt discriminated because of his/her sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Racism and discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion and belief persist.
The European Union has strong competences in the field of promoting equality and combating discrimination. EU institutions have adopted a legislative and policy framework which gives valuable tools to Member States to promote equality and combat discrimination. However, gaps remain in the legal and policy framework and equality is not a reality yet on the ground.
In this challenging context, national equality bodies play a fundamental role in the non-discrimination architecture of the EU. They are public institutions established by law in all EU countries to promote equality and combat discrimination (on grounds including gender and gender identity, racial and ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief) and are valuable catalysts for more equal societies.
On 10th September 2014, Equinet – the European Network of Equality Bodies organised a roundtable on national equality bodies and the European Parliament engaging together to combat discrimination. This event aimed at providing a platform for exchange between high level representatives of these bodies and Members of the European Parliament on future priorities in the area of equality and anti-discrimination, and on the important work of equality bodies on the ground at national level.
The rountable event was hosted by MEP Claude Moraes (S&D), Chair of LIBE Committee; MEP Iratxe Garcia Perez (S&D), Chair of FEMM Committee; and Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet – the European Network of Equality Bodies. The Vice-President of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek (Greens) also delivered a opening address.
The opening session was followed by an interactive discussion between representatives of national equality bodies and other Members of the European Parliament and by a reception. The list of MEPs and representatives of national equality bodies who confirmed their participation is available here.
The roundtable was the occasion to present new Equinet’s information kit on equality bodies. You can download and find more information about this tool here.
The event was a great success, both in terms of attendance and in terms of fruitful exchanges between national equality bodies and Members of the European Parliament. A summary will be available soon!