The Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin was published in the Official Journal of the Communities, Series L 18, page 22 on 19 July 2000.
We thought it would be useful to draw attention to the main amendments, which were included in the final version of the Directive.
Article 2: The concept of discrimination
This article, which provides a definition of direct and indirect discrimination and of harassment, was supplemented by a new Paragraph 4 :
" An instruction to discriminate against persons on grounds of racial or ethnic origin shall be deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of paragraph 1"
Article 3: Scope
To recap, this Directive applies to the fields of employment (conditions of access to employment including the criteria for selection and recruitment professional training, employment and working conditions including conditions of dismissal and remuneration and membership of employees or employers organisations), social protection, including social security and health care (this last point was added in the final version), welfare benefits, education, and access to and the supply of goods and services, including accommodation (this point was also added in the final version).
A Paragraph 2 was added. This paragraph recalls that this Directive does not apply to discrimination based on nationality, nor on conditions relating to the admission and residence of third country nationals or stateless persons, nor to any other treatment linked to the legal status of these citizens.
Article 12: Dialogue with non-governmental organisations
This article is new and is worded as follows:
" Member States shall encourage dialogue with appropriate non-governmental organisations which have, in accordance with their national law and practice, a legitimate interest in contributing to the fight against discrimination on grounds of racial and ethnic origin with a view to promoting the principle of equal treatment."
Article 13: Bodies for the promotion of equal treatment
In Paragraph 1 the new version of this article makes the provision that:
" Member States shall designate a body or bodies for the promotion of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. These bodies may form part of agencies charged at national level with the defence of human rights or the safeguard of individuals' rights."
The responsibilities of these bodies are listed in Paragraph 2: providing independent assistance to victims of discrimination in pursuing their complaints about discrimination, conducting independent surveys concerning discrimination; publishing independent reports and making recommendations on any issue relating to such discrimination.
Article 16: Implementation
Another addition is the role of social partners in the implementation of the Directive regarding provisions, which fall within the scope of collective agreements.
We should point out here that the Member States must adopt all the measures necessary to comply with this Directive by 19 July 2003 at the latest.
Article 17: Report
This Article was worded as follows:
" 1. Member States shall communicate to the Commission by 19 July 2005 at the latest and every five years thereafter, all the information necessary for the Commission to draw up a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive
2. The Commission's report shall take into account, as appropriate, the views of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, as well as the viewpoints of the social partners and relevant non-governmental organisations. In accordance with the principle of gender mainstreaming, this report shall, inter alia, provide an assessment of the impact of the measures taken on women and men. In the light of the information received, this report shall include, if necessary, proposals to revise and update this Directive."
A brief commentary on the amendments included in the final version
Generally speaking, the amendments represent an improvement to the text. We are pleased about the addition of Paragraph 4 to Article 2, the wording of which comes close to the idea of incitement to racial discrimination. The fact that health care and accommodation are specifically mentioned in Article 3 also represents an improvement.
We are also pleased at the place given within the Directive to non-governmental organisations, both in terms of dialogue with the Member States (Article 12) and the fact that their views are to be taken into consideration during the production of the Commissions report on the application of the Directive (Article 17.2.)
We note that in the new wording of the article concerning the bodies for the promotion of equal treatment (Article 13), the term "independent" has been omitted, even though this idea of independence is found in the context of the various tasks, which these bodies are requested to carry out. The period allowed for the presentation of the first report (Article 17.1) has been increased from 2 to 5 years, which we consider to represent an excessively long delay.
The role of ENAR in the implementation of this Directive
Within three years from 19 July 2000 the Member States must make the necessary adjustments in order to comply with this Directive. This means that the national organisations must immediately start to identify
the government departments and the individuals responsible for these issues in their countries. At the same time they must also call on experts, especially lawyers, in order to identify the areas of the Directive which require adjustments to be made at national level; to monitor this process of compliance; and to contribute to this process by means of concrete proposals.
It would be advisable for the National Round Tables to organise meetings and debates with the aim of drawing up a list as soon as possible of areas where provisions at national level are deficient. In addition, the NRTs should think, amongst other things, about how dialogue with the authorities might be organised and about the setting up of bodies for the promotion of equal treatment where they do not already exist.
The issue of enforcing compliance with the Directive at national level should become the subject of a more extensive process of reflection for ENAR. This fact sheet simply aims to provide you with an update about the Race Directive and some pointers regarding the work to be done by the National Round Tables.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information or assistance.