I. CONTEXT II. POLITICAL PRIORITIES IDENTIFIED

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1 SHAPING THE FUTURE OF EQUALITY POLICIES IN THE EU JOINT HIGH LEVEL EVENT ON NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EQUALITY, ROME, 6-7 NOVEMBER 2014 SUMMARY AND MAIN CONCLUSIONS I. CONTEXT The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission organised a Joint High Level Event on Non-Discrimination and Equality in Rome on 6-7 November 2014 entitled "Shaping the Future of Equality Policies in the EU". The event brought together 250 high-level delegates (governments, social partners, businesses, civil society, media, academics and independent experts) from EU and non-eu countries. There were five panel sessions during the event, including a Ministerial panel and a session dedicated to discussing the initiative for the High Level Group on Non- Discrimination, Equality and Diversity to be set up by the European Commission in The following themes were addressed: equality and non-discrimination in economic recovery, new directions for diversity management, new possibilities in valuing equality and diversity towards a cultural change and future perspectives on access to justice. "Soapbox" sessions were held to provide an opportunity for people and organisations from across the different grounds to give their perspectives on their ambitions and their current situation. The sessions covered the grounds of ethnicity and religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, and age. II. POLITICAL PRIORITIES IDENTIFIED The High-Level Event was opened by presentations from Isabelle Perignon, member of the Cabinet of Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumer Rights and Gender Equality who spoke on her behalf, Ivan Scalfarotto, Secretary of State of Constitutional Reform and Government Liaison to Parliament for Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and Ulrike Lunacek, Vice President of the European Parliament. The European Commission emphasised the need to make progress on the proposed Equal Treatment Directive prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of disability, age, 1

2 sexual orientation, and religion or belief in the provision of goods and services. The commitment to creating a policy framework targeting LGBTI people and to establishing the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Diversity and Equality to advance cooperation between the Member States and the European Commission were also mentioned by the Commission. Ivan Scalfarotto, Italian Presidency of the Council, set the goal of recommitting to the achievement of full equality in practice. He emphasised the challenges of addressing under-reporting and ensuring access to justice in cases of discrimination, the need to strengthen the role of equality bodies and national human rights institutions, and the importance of making progress on the proposed Equal Treatment Directive in the field of goods and services. Ulrike Lunacek, EP noted that the tools are in place at a European level to make progress on equality and non-discrimination. What is now required is political will and action. She pointed to the importance of the Lisbon Treaty commitments and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. She suggested the need for progress on an action plan for LGBT issues, the proposed Equal Treatment Directive in the field of goods and services, legislation on quotas for women on private sector boards, the proposed amendment of the Maternity Leave Directive, and violence against women. III. CHALLENGES POSED The evident commitment to equality in key documents such as the European Union Treaties was seen as a source of hope for the future. However, a core challenge was posed that these values remain without substance for many people. Waiting for change was identified as a frustration and the question was posed as to how much longer people must wait. This challenge was outlined not only in terms of signals required from the top to make progress on equality and non-discrimination but also achieving the necessary action and change at all levels on these signals. This applies to the European Union, the Member State and even the individual enterprise. A second significant challenge that emerged in the debates was that of structural discrimination. This was posed in terms of how the overall functioning of the labour market in effect excludes some groups. It was also identified that the way in which education is structured in effect excludes some groups. A further challenge is to review how key parts of society and the economy are organised and to introduce change that can deliver results for all groups in society. Public discourse was viewed as problematic in some countries. This was identified as a challenge to the media and to politicians. Stereotypes and rumours about minority groups need to be exposed and eliminated. This was seen as requiring both institutional change, in terms of addressing the origins of stereotypes and rumours, and cultural change, in terms of addressing their dissemination. 2

3 There is a growing range of good practice available in diversity management for companies and by companies. A challenge was posed to these companies to develop a model of diversity management that includes a focus on customers and suppliers, alongside employees. Furthermore, addressing and supporting those companies that do not or will not engage in diversity management was also identified as challenge. This can be attributed to lack of knowledge or of human and financial resources. Data gaps were repeatedly identified as a challenge. There is a need to enrich the data available to enable effective socio-economic monitoring. The lack of EU wide disaggregated equality data on the different grounds of discrimination was highlighted with a call for action from the Council of the European Union on this issue. However, a concern was articulated that we should not have to wait for data to take action, given our knowledge of the situations of inequality that persist. IV. EMERGING TOPICS The High Level Event had already identified themes for the consideration of speakers and participants alike in the various panel sessions. Some of the topics that could be identified as part of the future agenda for EU equality policies according to the presentations and discussions are the following: a) Mainstreaming Mainstreaming equality and non-discrimination was emphasised in relation to the Europe 2020 Strategy. It was also identified as a strategy for deployment across all policy areas. It was suggested that mainstreaming needs to involve some form of legal basis or requirement; be developed through projects and experimentation; be driven by an institutional infrastructure that is both internal and external to the organisation responsible; involve training for relevant staff and include monitoring of progress, impact and outcomes from policy. Equality impact assessments were identified as a tool for mainstreaming. There was a challenge to ensure that these were not just technical exercises but that they would be directed at improving the situation and wellbeing of people experiencing inequality. Structural discrimination and indirect discrimination were identified as problematic issues. Mainstreaming could play a role in their elimination. The challenge was posed to reform systems and structures as well as policies and practices. The policy fields of employment and the labour market, education and training, and poverty eradication were considered particular areas of focus. b) Antidiscrimination legislation The effective implementation of antidiscrimination legislation in place was a repeated concern at the High Level Event. Under-reporting of discrimination cases in practice was identified as a threat to legislation's effectiveness. All stakeholders were seen to have an important role in building confidence among those experiencing discrimination in order 3

4 to make rights more tangible. It was suggested that the High Level Group on Non- Discrimination, Diversity and Equality could be a key forum in devising and mobilising an effective response to under-reporting. The specific need to name gender identity as a ground in its own right in the relevant legislation, as has been done in Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2012/29/EU), was also raised. There were repeated calls to conclude the work being done on the proposed Equal Treatment Directive to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of age, sexual orientation, religion or belief and disability beyond the employment area. This would underpin the importance of action in the field of service provision if full equality in practice is to be advanced. Employers were, for example, challenged to look beyond their employees to address equality, diversity and non-discrimination for the full supply chain of customers, suppliers and retailers. c) Policies targeting specific groups Ground based action plans were viewed as a valuable framework through which to take a strategic approach to realising the rights of specific groups experiencing inequality. An LGBTI action plan should be under active consideration at EU level. A strategy to specifically realise the fundamental rights of older people was also suggested. d) Cultural Change Cultural change was identified as an important focus for action with a call to move beyond the protection of rights. Cultural change was identified as involving the public, the media and educators in embracing diversity. It was seen as requiring that institutions become diverse and that there is public confidence in these institutions. It was viewed as involving opportunities for people to mix and interact. The media should be encouraged to give visibility to the diversity of people in society and to the diversity of issues that different groups face. The need for both the media and politicians to embrace this discourse was identified. Cultural action initiatives to challenge rumours and undermine stereotypes about minority groups were presented. Action to promote a valuing of equality and diversity among the public and to challenge any tolerance of discrimination or exclusion was seen as necessary. A stronger legislative framework to more effectively eliminate hate speech was proposed. V) SHAPING THE FUTURE Three key developments were initiated, announced, or discussed at the high level event that offer a framework within which to address the challenges identified and to advance the emerging agenda. A number of key actors were named as central to making the most of these developments and shaping the future of equality policies in the EU. 4

5 High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Diversity and Equality A first outline of the basis for a future High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Diversity and Equality was presented. The European Commission will request written contributions and input to further develop the proposal. The High Level Group is to be established in early 2015 and to have its first meeting in April The High Level Group would enable the establishment of common objectives between Member States and the European Commission in the areas of equality, diversity, and non-discrimination initiatives and would work jointly to achieve them. It would enable shared commitments agreed at European level to be effectively advanced at national level. It would establish links with the Presidency and the Council of the European Union, with the social partners, equality bodies, civil society, international partners and with the European Commission. Operational activities of the High Level Group would include biannual meetings, good practice exchange seminars and high level meetings of stakeholders. Common policy objectives would guide and focus the work of the High Level Group. A non-exhaustive indication of policy themes that could be dealt with include implementation and further development of the European equal treatment directives; equality and non-discrimination standards in policy and practice concerned with the provision of goods and services; non-discrimination and equality mainstreaming in the Europe 2020 Strategy; European level policies targeting specific groups vulnerable to discrimination, guiding principles for policies, programmes and practices for equality and non-discrimination and/or a policy framework of new agreed common objectives to advance equality and non-discrimination across all grounds of discrimination. Review of Europe 2020 Strategy The Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth provides a cornerstone to social and economic policy at a European level. It is currently subject to a mid-term review. The participants expressed their wish to see equality, diversity, and non-discrimination concerns better streamlined in the Europe 2020 Strategy and its related documents. This would include within the Annual Growth Survey, the National Reform Programmes, the Country Specific Recommendations, and as part of the overall European Semester process. Other suggestions that were presented for consideration included a rebalancing of social and economic strategies within the Europe 2020 Strategy, specific targets for groups that experience inequality and discrimination could be developed and equality impact assessment methodologies. It was pointed out that it is necessary to refocus attention on the barriers experienced by people who are members of groups experiencing inequality and on investing in their potential. 5

6 Declaration of Rome The Declaration of Rome, prepared by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, sets out fourteen different commitments from governments made by the signatories. These include a commitment to effectively implement and apply the European equal treatment legislation and to seriously explore the adoption of the proposed Equal Treatment Directive to cover the provision of goods and services. A series of commitments reflect a dual strategy of mainstreaming and specific actions to implement equality, diversity and non-discrimination objectives at all levels, including at a local level. These commitments include taking action to address multiple forms of discrimination, the disadvantages of groups experiencing inequality, to empower these groups, and to mainstream and promote awareness raising of human rights as well as the principle of equality into policy-making and policy-implementation. A specific commitment is made to promoting human rights, equality, diversity and nondiscrimination in the Europe 2020 Strategy. Another set of commitments relate to consulting, supporting and cooperating with equality bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, social partners and enterprises. A specific commitment is made to participate in the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Diversity and Equality and to support the development of common policy objectives to guide and focus the work of the High Level Group. Ministers from Italy, Poland, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia and Montenegro signed the Declaration of Rome during the event. The Declaration of Rome remains open for further signatories and steps will be taken to encourage the signatures of the relevant Ministers from other countries prior to the end of the Italian semester of Presidency of the EU. Key Actors The presentation made on behalf of Commissioner Jourová concluded with a call to conference participants that we need all of you to make change happen. During the course of the event, a number of actors were identified as crucial to making progress on the future of equality policies in the EU. The European Institutions, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission were viewed as drivers for progress on this agenda. National authorities were seen as holding the main responsibility for change. The participation of high level officials in the High Level Non-Discrimination, Diversity and Equality Group is important, but it is also necessary to reach out to public officials from sectors not directly concerned with equality and non-discrimination. The role of the local level of governance was also highlighted. National authorities might set the standard but it was suggested that the real practice is at local authority level. Civil society, the social partners and equality bodies were all named as key actors. Civil society gives a voice to those who experience inequality but was challenged to work in 6

7 more integrated ways outside of the silos that persist in the sector. The role of employers must also be understood in terms of being service providers. The contribution of the EU Platform of Diversity Charters to promote diversity amongst businesses was also highlighted. Situations of precariousness, lack of access to work, poor working conditions and exploitation were identified as the business of trade unions. Equality bodies were challenged to make rights real and to address underreporting of discrimination and in turn they called for the introduction of a European standard for equality bodies. Educators and the media were identified as fundamental actors. Educators were challenged not only to address bullying based on grounds of discrimination but also to embrace diversity and advance equality to achieve sustainable change. The media were challenged to pursue the truth and embrace diversity. Standards were explored to ensure journalists use appropriate terminology, avoid distortions, protect sources from minority groups, and access expertise on equality issues. There were repeated calls for greater cooperation between these key actors. It was pointed out that no one stakeholder can achieve success on their own. Allies from unlikely sources need to be considered. There was an emphasis on sustaining and deepening alliances and cooperation between stakeholders. This is required to maximise impact but also to share learning, insights and perspectives for more effective interventions. It was suggested that alliances and cooperation were necessary to meet the challenge posed of bridging the gap between high level considerations and initiatives and local incidents and realities for groups that experience inequality. VI. CONCLUSIONS The priorities in the field of non-discrimination of the upcoming three Council Presidencies were presented. These include the proposed Equal Treatment Directive, the obstacles faced by persons with disabilities, diversity management at the workplace and LGBTI issues. On behalf of the European Commission, Salla Saastamoinen, Director of Equality at Directorate-General for Justice, confirmed the Commission's commitment to prioritise the unblocking of the proposed Equal Treatment Directive, the finalisation of the outline of the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity to be operational in 2015 and the launching of a new Eurobarometer on Discrimination. On behalf of the Italian Presidency, Sandro Gozi, Secretary of State for European Policies, referred to a lost decade where the main reason for establishing the European Union, the advancing of fundamental values such as equality and human rights, was forgotten. He called for a return to the fundamental values of the European Union. If the hearts and minds of the citizens are to return to the European Union, fundamental rights must now be progressed. New policies are needed to ensure fundamental rights and to prevent violations of these rights. He stressed the importance of unblocking the proposed Equal Treatment Directive and the High Level Group on Non Discrimination, Equality and Diversity. 7

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