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Parliamentary questions
PDF 104kWORD 25k
8 April 2015
Question for written answer E-005575-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE) , Ulrike Lunacek (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Clear standards for equality bodies to perform their duties in EU Member States, and EU demands for equality bodies in accession countries
 Answer in writing 

Recent Council conclusions on Roma Integration(1) recommended that Member States should ‘support the work and institutional capacity of bodies intended to promote equal treatment by granting them adequate resources’. The Commission’s joint report(2) on the application of Council Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC concludes that ‘strengthening the role of the national equality bodies as watchdogs for equality can make a crucial contribution to more effective implementation and application of the directives’.

In the absence of clear, legally binding standards for the independence and effectiveness of Member States' equality bodies, what criteria does the Commission take into account in its assessments and in deciding, including for the purposes of infringement procedures, whether a national equality body is in practice able to, and indeed does, fulfil the tasks required under the EU equal treatment directives?

In the EU accession process it is clear that the Commission looks closely at the independence and internal capacity of accession countries' national equality bodies, as has recently been the case with Croatia(3). Can it explain the discrepancy between the scrutiny of accession countries equality bodies and the lack of clear, legally binding standards for the equality bodies of Member States?

(1)Point 3.6 http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/139979.pdf
(3)Chapters 23 and 24 of Croatian accession process.

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