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Anti-Discrimination & Equality

About our anti-discrimination and equality programme

MPG’s Anti-discrimination and Equality programme focuses on strategies to combat discrimination on all grounds, particularly on nationality, ethnicity, race and religion, and to promote equality for all.

Our activities are based on setting standards, campaigning for their adoption, monitoring their implementation and in turn empowering stakeholders and civil society to act on them by developing trainings, setting up networks and facilitating transnational exchange.

The Anti-discrimination programme is guided by the following objectives:

  • Improve protection against discrimination
  • Expand anti-discrimination law and practices
  • Raise awareness and knowledge of means to prevent and combat discrimination
  • Enhance the capacity of civil society to act on anti-discrimination
  • Enhance the capacity of key stakeholders to design new enforcement strategies

MPG’s programme on Anti-discrimination and Equality has increased the body of knowledge on anti-discrimination policies and law in Europe, making it possible to compare and monitor changes in national approaches. 

MPG enhances the capacity of a wide range of stakeholders and civil society (including NGOs, and trade unions) to fight discrimination, and promotes co-operation among a variety of actors across Europe.

MPG uses the following tools to implement its Anti-discrimination programme:

  • Standard setting
  • Impact assessment
  • Monitoring implementation at national level
  • Training programmes – training trainers

highlighted projects

European Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination (summary)

new_equality_networkThe Migration Policy Group, Human European Consultancy and Utrecht University have established and manage a European Network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination which provides independent information and advice on the transposition and implementation of EU law on gender equality and non-discrimination. The Network covers: all 28 EU Member States; the candidate countries Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey; as well as the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway.

The Migration Policy Group is managing the content of the work on non-discrimination law covering the grounds of race and ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation, while Utrecht University is responsible for the content on gender equality.

Learn more

Equality Law Network contract awarded

The European Commission has awarded the contract for the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination to the consortium of Migration Policy Group (MPG), Utrecht University (UU) and Human European Consultancy (HEC).

The new network is a follow-up to the previous European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-Discrimination Field (managed by MPG and HEC) and the European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality (managed by UU). The new Equality Law Network will continue to provide the European Commission with independent information and advice on relevant legal and policy developments throughout the EU Member States, EFTA / EEA and candidate countries. Through national and thematic reporting as well as the publishing of several comparative analyses and law reviews, the Network will keep the Commission as well as the general public informed on legislation, case-law and policy developments of relevance across these countries.

MPG will therefore continue to provide its expertise by ensuring the high quality of the content of the Network’s work with regards to the five anti-discrimination grounds of race/ethnic origin, age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Anti-discrimination and Equality work in Use

European Commission adopts its report on the implementation of the EU anti-discrimination Directives

On 17 January 2014 the European Commission adopted its implementation report on the state of implementation of the Racial Equality Directive and the Employment Equality Directive in the 28 EU Member States. The extensive report is largely based on the country specific reports produced and updated annually by the European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-Discrimination field managed by MPG and Human European Consultancy. It also includes additional analytical information provided by the European Network.

comp-anal-2012-coverIn this third[1] implementation report of the anti-discrimination Directives the European Commission notes that all 28 EU Member States have transposed the Directives and have developed some experience in working within this framework. The Commission therefore focuses its report on the application of the Directives by the Member States as well as their interpretation by the Court of Justice of the EU and by national courts. The report also identifies the challenges that remain in some countries, such as a lack of awareness and underreporting of discrimination cases, a lack of equality data and problems in relation to access to justice for claimants. In addition, an important challenge relates to the remedies and sanctions available in cases where a finding of discrimination is made, as these cannot always be said to fulfil the requirement of effectiveness, dissuasiveness and proportionality as imposed by the Directives. All these issues in relation to the correct application and interpretation of the Directives have been raised previously by the Legal Network in its publications, for instance in the comparative report Developing Anti-Discrimination Law in Europe.

[1] In 2006 and 2008 respectively, the European Commission had adopted separate implementation reports; COM(2006) 643 final, 30.10.2006, on Directive 2000/43/EC and COM(2008) 225 final/2, 8.7.2008, on Directive 2000/78/EC.

MPG’s work on non-discrimination clauses in public procurement highlighted in report on new integration policy submitted to French PM

rapport_thierry_tuotThe BUYDIS project, in which the cities of Lyon and Nantes use MPG’s benchmarking expertise to experiment non-discrimination clauses in their public contracts, has been highlighted as a promising model to follow in a report submitted to the French Prime Minister and the Minister for Employment.

The report, which focuses on education, training and employment aspects of integration policy, is part of a series of studies designed to serve as the basis for a new integration policy, which will be presented by the French government by the end of 2013. The studies have been produced by five working groups, set up in September 2013 by the Prime Minister’s office.

The report recommends awarding public contracts to ‘diversity-friendly’ companies by generalising non-discrimination clauses in public procurement, designed to combat discrimination and to promote diversity and equal opportunities. The BUYDIS experiment goes further than simply inciting contractors to implement diversity management policies; it seeks to make diversity and equality policies part of the contract performance conditions, so that companies who are awarded a public contract are under a contractual obligation to put in place such policies or to further develop them.

BUYDIS is  supported financially and politically by the French Ministry of the Interior and is led by ISM CORUM.

Read the report below, or download the package of studies here.

Anti-discrimination and equality work in context

School discrimination of Roma: Infringement proceedings against Czech Republic

Credits: US Embassy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Credits: US Embassy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The European Commission has initiated infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic for failure to correctly implement the Racial Equality Directive, due to systemic discrimination of Roma children in schools. The discrimination that has been taking place in the Czech school system includes segregation processes directing Roma children towards special schools for children with mild mental disabilities and segregated classes exclusively for Roma pupils.

The infringement proceedings follow numerous signals by the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field through its publications, including the annual country reports for the Czech Republic, the comparative analyses published annually and the thematic report Segregation of Roma children in Education: Addressing Structural Discrimination through the Race Equality Directive, written by Lilla Farkas and published already in 2007. MPG welcomes these infringement proceedings, hoping that they will bring about equal access to education for children in the Czech Republic, irrespective of ethnic origin and free from discrimination on any ground.

Finland brought to CJEU for failure to set up an adequate equality body

curiaOn 10 July 2014, the European Commission referred Finland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to set up an equality body attributed with the tasks required by Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive, in the field of employment. According to the Directive the Member States are required to set up a national equality body which must be formally entrusted with the tasks of providing assistance to victims, conducting independent surveys, publishing independent reports and making recommendations concerning discrimination.

The country report for Finland of the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field, managed by MPG in collaboration with Human European Consultancy, raises the concern of the inadequacy of the Finnish equality body, the Ombudsman for minorities, which is not equipped with the necessary mandate to perform the tasks required by the Directive. Following a Letter of Formal Notice and a Reasoned Opinion, the European Commission has now concluded that the efforts of the Member State to comply with the requirements of the Directive are insufficient, and is therefore referring Finland to the Court of Justice.

As the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field has reported, the Finnish Government submitted a proposal to the national parliament in April 2014 to adopt a new Non-Discrimination Act. This proposal fails however to address the issue of the inadequacy of the national equality body, and the Commission therefore finds that a referral to Court may incite the parliament to introduce the necessary amendments in the Act to ensure compliance with Article 13 of the Directive.



Browse all anti-discrimination and equality publications