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MPG’s director Isabelle Chopin addresses LIBE Committee on difficulties experienced by discrimination victims in accessing justice

MPG’s Director, Isabelle Chopin, was invited to address the MEPs of the LIBE Committee in a workshop session on equality in the EU. The workshop was organised by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

Ms. Chopin’s based her intervention on the work of the European Network of legal experts in the field of gender equality and non-discrimination, of which she is the Specialist Coordinator in Non-Discrimination Law. This work includes notably it’s latest European Equality Law Review for 2023, comparative analysis of non-discrimination law in Europe for 2023, and 27 detailed country reports that assess the level of transposition and implementation of both the Racial Equality and Employment Equality Directives on the national level.

“We welcome the work and actions taken by the European Commission. A lot has been achieved, the situation has changed drastically over the past 30 years, and I am very happy to have been part of this journey for all these years, but I am afraid I am going to focus on the gaps and the problematic areas, without indeed undermining all the progress that has been made since 2000.”

“In theory the two non-discrimination directives are well transposed, and the vast majority of Member States provide further protection on the national level even if some issues regarding interpretation and definition still remain to be clarified. The practice though remains sometimes difficult and the vast majority of experts highlight as the main problematic areas: the lack of case law, sometimes still the lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness regarding anti-discrimination law, access to justice and the inadequate sanctions.”

How could a legislation be properly implemented if victims have difficulties in accessing justice? This is translated by the lack of awareness (training seems to be necessary for the judiciary, lawyers, police…etc.), the length of judicial proceedings, the scarce or non-existent legal aid and assistance to victims, the legal costs, the difficult legal standing for organisations, the functioning of Equality Bodies and more important the fact that sanctions are not as required by both Directives proportionate, effective and dissuasive.”

Our 2023 comparative analysis of non-discrimination law in Europe was also quoted extensively in this briefing drafted by the Policy Department on Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs in the view of the LIBE Workshop on “The EU as a Union of Equality?”. It provides relevant information and updates on the various strategies, action plans and strategic frameworks launched by the Commission under the Union of Equality umbrella, as well as on other equality directives, framework decisions and initiatives falling under the same remit.

About the European Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination

The European Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination is a network providing independent information to the European Commission and the public on the transposition and implementation of EU non-discrimination law and gender equality law across 36 countries.

More of the network’s reports can be found on on our publications page, the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination website and on the Publications Office of the European Union website.

About the Migration Policy Group (MPG)

MPG is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Brussels. MPG’s purpose is rooted in its ability to inspire networks to provide evidence-based projects, research and campaigns in the areas of integration, migration and anti-discrimination.