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Conclusions of the Equality Summit 2012: Promoting Equality for Growth


The conclusions of the Equality Summit, held on 22-23 November 2012 in Cyprus, have been published. Key elements are summarised below:

• The current economic crisis is putting pressure on the finances of all members of the European Union, which often results in austerity measures and cuts in social policies, including Equality.

• The latest Eurobarometer on discrimination confirms this trend, as an absolute majority of Europeans believe that, due to the economic crisis, policies promoting equality and diversity are regarded as less important and receive less funding.

• However, the Equality Summit has shown that equality policies can support growth, and growth cannot be achieved in a society where discrimination and exclusion exist.

• In times of crisis, human rights and non-discrimination principles should be taken into account when designing and implementing growth policies. Investing in Equality policies will contribute to creation of a more inclusive participatory and prosperous society by ensuring that persons with disabilities, older people, ethnic and religious minorities, women, sexual minorities and all groups at risk of discrimination can play a positive role for growth and are given the opportunity to show their talents.

• The responsibility lies on Member States, European Institutions, Equality bodies, NGOs, businesses, trade unions and employers. All have a role to play in combatting discrimination and reflecting diversity in the work force, but also in all spheres of life, making sure that growth and equality go hand in hand, as one cannot be achieved without the other.

• The European Commission is committed to keep on combating discrimination, with all means at its disposal, within the boundaries of its competences. It will continue working closely with the European Parliament and the Council for the adoption of the Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The results of the Eurobarometer should serve as an orientation for future activities.

• All stakeholders are also invited to consider the conclusions of the Equality Summit and the results of the Eurobarometer to strengthen their efforts towards a more tolerant society, free from discrimination.