On the 14th of October, EUD participated in an online round table titled ‘The Future of Equality Legislation in Europe’. This event was organised by Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies. The webinar counted with the participation of multiple stakeholders, including Mr. Silvan Agius, Cabinet expert for EU Commissioner of Equality Helena Dalli and Heads of equality bodies across Europe. The event also had the participation of various MEPs, including Alice Bah Kihnke from the Greens/EFA, Robert Biedroń from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Malin Björk from the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, Maria Walsh from the European People’s Party and Radka Maxová from Renew Europe.
Over the last decades, EU equality and anti-discrimination legislation grew from the ground of gender to other grounds such as disability, ethnic and racial origin and age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. However, not all groups at risk of exclusion are equally protected by EU anti-discrimination law. The Equal Treatment Directive, a piece of secondary legislation that would ensure protection against discrimination in all areas of life, has been pending since 2008. The adoption of this Directive would be a milestone for equality, as it would offer a more symmetric protection to victims of discrimination.
During the webinar, Silvan Agius, expressed the full commitment of the EU Commissioner of Equality Helena Dalli to implement the equality agenda in the EU, and he emphasised the important role of civil society in taking this forward. In relation to the Equal Treatment Directive, he emphasised on the importance of EU governments to pressure each other to move beyond its blockage at the EU Council.
Various representatives from equality bodies across Europe discussed relevant elements that are important to make progress in the field of equality and non-discrimination in Europe. These included the importance of hope and investing in communication, the need to be strategic and exchange good practices, the importance of intersectionality, enforcement and prevention of discrimination as well as the need for public enforcement and the strengthening of equality.
Having a solid legal and policy framework in the area of equality and non-discrimination is essential to achieve equality for all deaf people in Europe. In this regard, antidiscrimination tools need to cover all areas of life, to ensure that possible victims of discrimination can benefit from all existing channels of protection. Article 5 of the UN CRPD poses a clear obligation to the EU and all States Parties to ensure equality of all persons with disabilities. EUD will continue to strongly advocate before the different EU institutions to ensure equality for all deaf persons in all areas of life.
EUD would like to thank the Equinet for organising this webinar.
You can access:
– agenda of the meeting here
– event webpage here
– information about Equinet here