Equinet promotes equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies. 

Equinet Newsbook

July-August 2015

Equinet News

Seminar Summary: Work-life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood-related Discrimination

01/07/2015: Equinet and the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner of Estonia hosted a seminar on Work-Life Balance and Pregnancy related Discrimination in Tallinn. The Seminar gathered over 50 representatives of equality bodies from across Europe with the aim of exchanging knowledge and good practices related to the issues of reconciliation between the professional and private sphere. 

Seminar Summary: The Charter of Fundamental Rights

16/06/2015: Equinet hosted the conference ’Charting the Charter: Equality bodies and fundamental rights in the EU’ to facilitate exchange between equality bodies and national and European stakeholders on the role and importance of the Charter in safeguarding fundamental rights, ensuring equality and combating discrimination.   



Equinet Members

  • Research carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK-Great Britain) suggests that around 54,000 new mothers may be forced out of their jobs in Britain each year. The Report on Pregnancy and Maternity-related Discrimination and Disadvantage, based on a survey of over 3,200 women, shows that 11% of the women interviewed reported having been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their jobs. Read more here.
  • According to a poll carried out by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the Marriage Equality Referendum has positively changed the perception of Ireland as a leader in Europe on human rights and equality. Concerns remain however regarding the equality of the health care system and how minorities in Ireland are treated. Read more here. 

European Commission

  • 01/07/2015: The draft of the new Maternity Leave Directive was withdrawn by the EC due to lack of progress in the European Council. The Commission announced that it will continue to work on a new initiative that will promote the objectives of the previous proposal and will be formed through public consultation with stakeholders.  
  • 22/06/2015: The EC published its replies to the list of issues addressed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The replies prepared by the EU will serve as a basis for the dialogue between the EU and the UN Committee (27-28 August 2015, Geneva) in the context of the review of the implementation of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the EU. 
  • 19/06/2015: The EC communicated its reply to the European Parliament regarding the question on clear standards for equality bodies. The question was addressed to the Commission by MEPs Jean Lambert (UK) and Ulricke Lunacek (Austria) in April 2015 and it put forward the issue of legally binding standards for the independence and effectiveness of Member States’ equality bodies.   
  • 16/06/2015: The First Vice-President of the EC Frans Timmermans hosted the 2015 annual high-level meeting with religious leaders, which gathered 15 religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Mormon communities. The conclusions of the high-level meeting will feed into the first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights in the EU on “Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe”, to take place in October 2015. Additionally, Frans Timmermans and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality published a statement recalling the role and efforts of the EU in combating anti-Semitism, hate speech and hate crime.

European Parliament

European Institute for Gender Equality

  • EIGE has published its Gender Equality Index 2015. This Index assesses the level of gender equality for 2005, 2010 and 2012, for the first time allowing for an assessment of the progress made in the pursuit of gen­der equality in the European Union and individual Mem­ber States over time. The results show that there have been visible, albeit marginal, improvements between 2005 and 2012 in the domains covered by the Gender Equal­ity Index
  • A Policy Review on the Reconciliation of work, family and private life in the EU has been published as part of EIGE’s ‘Collection of good practices in the area of reconciliation of work, family and private life in EU Member States’ study.

Inclusion Europe

  • Inclusion Europe, the European Association of Societies of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families, has published a submission to the General Comment on Article 6 (Women with disabilities) of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Inclusion Europe stressed that the General Comment should put more emphasis on special situation of women with different types of disabilities, especially in relation to their right to family and home (Article 23 of the CRPD), right to health (Article 25 of the CRPD) and sexual and reproductive rights. 


Read previous Newsletters here.

Joint Appeal for European Discrimination Protection

More than 40 associations and NGOs from Germany and Europe have co-signed a joint statement, initiated by our member equality body the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) and Equinet, calling on the German government to stop blocking the Equal Treatment Directive of the European Union (the so-called Horizontal Directive). Read the statement here.

Funding Opportunities

Daphne call for financial support of transnational projects with objective to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence against women. Deadline for proposals: 13/10/2015.

Action Grants call to Member States for projects supporting Roma integration. Deadline for proposals: 10/09/2015.


European Court of Human Rights

Case of Olari and Others v Italy
21/07/2015: The ECHR unanimously delivered a ground-breaking decision and stated that Italy breached the European Convention of Human Rights by not providing any legal form of recognition of same-sex partnerships.

Delfi AS v Estonia
16/06/2015: The ECHR ruled that there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the legitimacy of Estonian news portal, Delfi AS, to remove the offensive comments of its readers. Full analysis of the case by Equinet Secretariat is available here


Court of Justice of the EU

Case C-222/14

16/07/2015: Based on a Greek case, the Court of Justice of EU ruled that the right to exercise parental leave is not dependant on the employment status of the spouse

09/07/2015: Based on a Dutch case, it has been decided that Member States may require third country nationals to pass a civic integration examination prior to family reunification. However, exercise of the right to reunification must not be made impossible or excessively difficult.

European Commission

2015 European Commission Annual Report on National Roma Integration Strategies and a factsheet summarising the report. The EC lists the key steps that have been taken by the European Union to improve the efficiency of the EU Funds for Roma inclusion. It also addresses recommendations to EU Member States to improve the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies.
Report on the gender pension gap in the EU, which highlights that women in the EU are receiving pensions that are on average 40% lower than men’s. The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) of the Council of the EU adopted the Conclusions that are needed for tackling this issue: improving monitoring the gender gap in pension, understanding its causes and effects, and establishing a comprehensive set of preventative and mitigating measures, which sufficiently take into account a women's full life course.
Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015, a joint publication between the EC and OECD, shows the achievements of integration for immigrants and their children in OECD and EU countries. The publication presents 27 indicators that are organised around five main areas: employment, education and skills, social inclusion, civic engagement and social cohesion.

Council of Europe

- The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published its Annual Report 2014. The report identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014.

Fundamental Rights Agency

- The 2014 FRA Annual Report highlights several policy and legal achievements made by EU Member States in the field of fundamental rights and equality. However, many issues remain alarming, in particular in relation to migration, social exclusion, poverty of children and emerging xenophobic speech by certain political parties. 

Transgender Europe

Transgender Europe published two guides that provide an overview of EU law relevant for trans people. One guide aims to inform activists, while the other targets at broader audience as it is written in more accessible manner.  

Business Europe

Position Paper addressing the Gender Pay Gap aims to address the pay gap's real causes, ensure a more consistent and fact-based debate, and clarify possible misconceptions. 
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