News Item

Has EU equality legislation delivered 20 years on?

Diversity equality inclusion on notes
syahrir ©, 2021
Discrimination remains a daily reality for many people across the EU despite 20 years of EU equality legislation. This finds the latest Opinion from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

FRA's Opinion looks at people’s experiences of discrimination in light of EU equality legislation, particularly the racial and employment equality directives. The EU adopted the two directives in 2000 for Member States to put into practice.

Drawing on substantial FRA evidence into experiences of discrimination and victimisation, the Opinion points to persistent inequalities in all relevant areas of life – from employment to health and housing.

Members of many population groups, protected by legislation, still too often fall victim to discrimination. They often do not report their experiences of discrimination. This includes members of ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants and their descendants, LGBTI people, and people with disabilities. Age and gender discrimination also remain an issue.

In addition, gaps in collecting equality data persist. This hampers the effective monitoring of how Member States apply the equality directives.

To better protect people against unequal treatment, the EU and its Member States need to:

  • better enforce anti-discrimination legislation;
  • take positive action to foster equal treatment;
  • close gaps in protecting against discrimination on various grounds and in different areas of life;
  • establish safeguards to protect against the potential discriminatory impact in the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence;
  • tackle widescale under-reporting through helping victims to easily report discrimination to competent bodies and organisations, particularly national equality bodies;
  • improve rights awareness among groups at risk of discrimination;
  • provide equality bodies with the necessary human, technical and financial resources, and mandates to support victims of discrimination and promote equal treatment;
  • systematically collect reliable, valid, and comparable equality data broken down by different grounds to guide non-discrimination policies;
  • fully respect EU data protection rules in collecting equality data.

The FRA Opinion aims at assisting the EU and its Member States improve protection against discrimination and foster equal treatment. This includes implementing and monitoring EU strategies and action plans to build a Union of Equality. These cover such areas as anti-racism, gender equality, LGBTI equality, the rights of people with disabilities, as well as Roma equality, inclusion and participation.

The FRA Opinion complements the European Commission 2021 report on the racial and employment equality directives.