Networks of experts
There are four European networks active in the field of anti-discrimination.
High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity
In 2015 the European Commission set up an High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity replacing the Government expert group (whose mandate expired in 2013).
The High Level Group shall within the framework of its mandate :
- accompany the development and implementation of policies and programmes at EU and national level aimed at combating discrimination, promoting equality and diversity;
- deepen cooperation and coordination between Member States’ relevant authorities and the Commission on questions relating to achieving diversity and full equality in practice, and eliminating discrimination; in particular through the exchange of experiences and good practices on related issues of common interest to be defined by the Group and the establishing, when appropriate, of common policy objectives;
- deepen the coherence of effort for equality and against discrimination between the members of the Group, the Presidency, the Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights;
- follow any other topic that may emerge which is found relevant by the Commission and the Group.
Meetings of the High Level Group
- Second meeting of the High Level Group, Luxembourg 27 October 2015
Network of socio-economic experts
Focusing on most forms of discrimination (age, disability, ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation, religion or belief), this group is:
- providing the European Commission with informed analysis of the situation in individual countries and of national policy;
- supporting the sharing of good practice between members of the Government Expert Group.
Publications and reports
The good practice exchange seminars, co-organised by the network with the European Commission, have been the main tool used by the Government Expert Group in order to carry out its tasks; this will continue with the newly established High Level Group. Twice a year government officials and experts from between 10 and 15 EU countries participate in these seminars to learn about a particular policy measure of the host country and to discuss its transferability.
- Public policies combating discrimination against LGBT people - Brussels seminar - Report 2013 ;
- Public policies combating discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief - Brussels seminar - Report 2012 ;
- public policies combating discrimination and fostering diversity in education - seminar hosted by Norway - Report 2012 ;
- public policies combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and how to overcome barriers - Tallin seminar - Report 2011 ;
- public policies combating discrimination based on age in accessing and progressing in employment - Vienna seminar - Report 2011 ;
- public policies combating discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin in accessing and progressing in employment - Berlin seminar - Report 2010 ;
- public policies combating discrimination against and promoting equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people (LGBT), The Hague seminar - Report 2010 ;
- non-discrimination mainstreaming, Helsinki seminar - Report 2009 .
Other publications by the Network of Socio-economic Experts (SEN):
- Synthesis report 2011 - on older workers facing discrimination in employment
- Synthesis report 2010 - part I on the situation of LGBT groups and part II on ethnic minorities, migrants and employment .
- Synthesis report 2009 - presenting a general picture of non-discrimination in the 27 EU countries and a description of the institutional framework and governance issues.
European Network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination
In 2015 the current European Network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field was merged with the European Network of legal experts in the field of gender equality forming one single European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination.
The network ensures that the European Commission is kept informed in relation to important legal developments in both the fields of gender equality and non-discrimination at national level and as to the impacts of those developments.
This network comprises national experts from 35 countries (the EU Member States, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) in the fields of gender equality and non-discrimination and an executive committee.
It provides independent advice, analysis and information on:
- the transposition at national (and, where applicable, at federal and/or sub-national) level of the gender equality and non-discrimination Directives as well as the constant monitoring of compliance with these Directives;
- the practical implementation and application of national legislation transposing the Directives;
- national initiatives in the fields of gender equality and non-discrimination legislation and related political developments (such as the discussion of proposals to introduce new legislation or to amend existing laws);
- the impact of national court rulings;
- the impact of judgements of the Court of Justice of the European Union on national law and, where appropriate, of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights; and
- policy developments at EU level.
Publications and reports
- Equality law review - published twice yearly, setting out key legal developments at national and EU levels;
- thematic reports - focusing on a particular area;
- country reports - describing how national laws are implementing the EU directives, covering legislation, preliminary rulings, enforcement mechanisms and positive action.
Equinet - European Network of Equality Bodies
Equinet is the European network of specialized equality bodies established across Europe with statutory mandates to promote equality and combat discrimination. The network aims to promote equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of strong, independent and effective national equality bodies. Equinet also seeks to act as a point of support for its members in the implementation of their core functions as defined in the existing anti-discrimination EU Directives 2000/43/EC, 2004/113/EC, 2006/54/EC and 2010/41/EU.
Equinet aims to enhance the strategic capacity of its members and to develop the skills and competences of their expert staff. The network supports the European equality agenda by conveying an expert contribution drawn from the experience of national equality bodies, and seeks to enhance their recognition and strategic positioning in relation to all stakeholders at European level. Finally Equinet serves as a knowledge and communication hub on equal treatment.
To achieve its aims, Equinet:
- Organises regular events such as training sessions and seminars for staff members of equality bodies, as well as conferences on key topics relevant to the European agenda on equality and non-discrimination
- Supports research and exchange of information, data and expertise from and among equality bodies through:
- Working Groups structured around thematic areas of relevance to equality bodies, such as Communication Strategies and Practices, Equality Law, Gender Equality and Policy Formation
- Publications such as reports, policy perspectives and good practice guides providing evidence-based contributions to relevant themes relating to the work of national equality bodies and developments in the field of equality and non-discrimination in Europe
- Communication channels such as the Equinet website, social media profiles and monthly newsletters.
The highest decision-making structure within Equinet is the General Assembly of Equinet Members. Every two years the Assembly elects an Executive Board responsible for the overall management and the strategic leadership of the network. The operational structure consists of Working Groups of equality bodies’ experts and a Secretariat based in Brussels.