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Procedure : 2005/0107(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0366/2005

Texts tabled :

A6-0366/2005

Debates :

PV 12/12/2005 - 19

Votes :

PV 13/12/2005 - 8.21

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2005)0489

Texts adopted
WORD 77k
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 - Strasbourg Final edition
European Year of Equal Opportunities for All ***I
P6_TA(2005)0489A6-0366/2005
Resolution
 Consolidated text

European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - Towards a Just Society (COM(2005)0225 – C6-0178/2005 – 2005/0107(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0225)(1) ,

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 13(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0178/2005),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0366/2005),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Emphasises that the appropriations indicated in the legislative proposal for the period after 2006 are contingent on the decision concerning the next multi-annual financial framework;

3.  Calls on the Commission to submit, if necessary, once the next multi-annual financial framework has been adopted, a proposal to adjust the financial reference amount for this European Year;

4.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 13 December 2005 with a view to the adoption of Decision No .../2006/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) Towards a Just Society
P6_TC1-COD(2005)0107

(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 13(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1) ,

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2) ,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3) ,

Whereas:

(1)  Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the European Union. That principle should be taken into account in all the European Union's policies .

(2)  On the basis of Article 13 of the Treaty, the Council has adopted Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(4) in, inter alia, employment, vocational training, education, goods and services, and social protection; Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(5) , which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation and Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between women and men in the access to and supply of goods and services(6) .

(3)  Article 2 of the Treaty provides that the promotion of equality between men and women is one of the essential tasks of the Community. Likewise Article 3(2) of the Treaty requires that the Community aims to eliminate inequalities and to actively promote equality between men and women in all its actions.

(4)  Articles 21 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union set out a prohibition on discrimination on a variety of grounds and the requirement that equality between men and women be ensured in all areas.

(5)  European legislation on equal treatment and non-discrimination covers all persons in the European Union.

(6)  The Social Agenda 2005-2010, which complements and supports the Lisbon Strategy, has a key role in promoting the social dimension of economic growth. One of the priorities of the Social Agenda is the promotion of equal opportunities for all as a means of achieving a more socially inclusive society.

(7)  The year 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Year Against Racism, which has enabled considerable progress to be made towards the elimination of racial discrimination.

(8)  European legislation has significantly raised the level of guaranteed equality and protection against inequalities and discrimination across the EU and acted as a catalyst for the development of a more coherent, rights-based approach to equality and non-discrimination. Despite that fact, people in the EU still encounter discrimination and unequal treatment in their daily lives.

(9)  The European Year should lend fresh impetus to supporting Member States' efforts to implement Community equal treatment and non-discrimination legislation.

(10)  It is essential that actions in relation to age, disability, religion or belief, race and sexual orientation take full account of gender differences.

(11)  The consultation process organised by the Commission through the Green Paper entitled 'Equality and non-discrimination in the enlarged European Union', which was adopted on 28 May 2004, shows that, in the opinion of most of the persons questioned, the Union should step up its efforts to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

(12)  In its Resolution of 28 April 2005 on the situation of Roma in Europe (7) , the European Parliament brings attention to the prevalence of anti-gypsyism and its discriminatory effect on the opportunities in terms of employment, education and social services for the European Union's most disadvantaged ethnic-minority group.

(13)  Key to the successful impact of the Community non-discrimination legislative framework are the extent to which it enjoys broad popular support and the existence of genuine political will for change . In that context, the social partners, local and regional authorities and NGOs have a vital role to play. The European Year should act as a catalyst in raising awareness and in building momentum. It should help to focus political attention in all the Member States and mobilise everyone concerned in order to drive forward the new non-discrimination and equal opportunities framework strategy of the European Union, including after 2007 .

(14)  The European Year will also seek to address issues of multiple discrimination, that is discrimination on the basis of two or more grounds listed in Article 13 of the Treaty. It also seeks to promote a balanced treatment of all grounds listed therein.

(15)   The varying levels of progress made at national level call for urgent action to be taken at European and national level in the field of equality and non-discrimination; in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the bulk of activities of the Year is to be decentralised at national level .

(16)  Participation in the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All should be open to Member States, to EFTA/EEA countries in accordance with the conditions established under the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA), to the acceding and candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy and countries from the Western Balkans, in line with the conditions laid down pursuant to their respective agreements, and to the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, in accordance with the provisions of the May 2004 Strategy Paper and the Country Action Plans.

(17)  Consistency and complementarity with other Community action is needed, in particular with action to combat discrimination and social exclusion, and to promote fundamental rights, education and training, culture and intercultural dialogue, youth, citizenship, immigration and asylum, and gender equality.

(18)  This Decision lays down, for the entire duration of the programme, a financial framework constituting the prime reference, within the meaning of point 33 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(8) , for the budgetary authority during the annual budgetary procedure .

(19)  The measures necessary for the implementation of this Decision should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(9) .

(20)  Since the objectives of the proposed European Year cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, owing to the need, inter alia, for multilateral partnerships, the transnational exchange of information and Community-wide dissemination of good practice, and can therefore, by reason of the scale of action, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Decision does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve those objectives.

HAVE DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

Establishment of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All

The year 2007 shall be designated as the "European Year on Equal Opportunities for All" (hereinafter: "the European Year").

Article 2

Objectives

The objectives of the European Year shall be as follows:

(a)  Rights – Raising awareness of the right to equality and non-discrimination and of the problem of multiple discrimination - The European Year will highlight the message that all people are entitled to equal treatment , irrespective of their sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. The European Year will make groups which are at risk of discrimination more aware of their rights and of existing European legislation in the area of non-discrimination.

(b)  Representation - Stimulating a debate on ways to increase the participation of groups in society which are victims of discrimination and a balanced participation of men and women - the European Year will encourage reflection and discussion on the need to promote their greater participation in society, and their involvement in activities designed to combat discrimination, in all sectors and at all levels.

(c)  Recognition – Facilitating and celebrating diversity and equality – The European Year will highlight the positive contribution that people, irrespective of their sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, capacities, age and sexual orientation, can make to society as a whole, in particular by accentuating the benefits of diversity.

(d)  Respect – Promoting a more cohesive society –The European Year will raise awareness about the importance of eliminating stereotypes, prejudice and violence, promoting good relations between all in society, and in particular among young people, and promoting and disseminating the values underlying the fight against discrimination.

Article 3

Content of actions

1.  The actions designed to meet the objectives set out in Article 2 may entail the development of, or the provision of support for, in particular :

   a) meetings and events;
   b) information, promotional and educational campaigns;
   c) surveys and studies on a Community or nation-wide scale.

2.  Details of the actions referred to in paragraph 1 are set out in the Annex.

Article 4

Gender mainstreaming

The European Year shall take into account the different ways in which women and men experience discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.

Article 5

Cooperation and implementation at Community level

The Commission shall ensure that the Community actions covered by this Decision are implemented in conformity with the Annex, in particular by making sure that all the forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of this Decision are addressed and dealt with fairly.

In particular, the Commission shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure the consistency and complementarity of the Community action and initiatives referred to in Article 10 so as to help meet the objectives set out in Article 2.

It shall conduct a regular exchange of views with stakeholders, the NGOs representing the groups which suffer discrimination and civil society, particularly at European level, on the design, implementation, follow-up and assessment of the European Year. To that end, the Commission shall make the relevant information available to such stakeholders. The Commission shall inform the Committee established under Article 7(1) of their opinion.

Article 6

Cooperation and implementation at national level

1.  Each Member State shall establish or designate a national implementing body to organise its participation in the European Year. By ... (10) it shall inform the Commission of its choice. That Body shall be responsible for defining the national strategy and priorities for the European Year as well as for selecting the individual activities to be proposed for Community funding. The national strategy and priorities for the European Year shall be set out in accordance with the objectives listed in Article 2 and will seek to ensure a balanced treatment of all the grounds of discrimination referred to in Article 2.

The procedure for awarding Community funding for national-level activities is set out in Part II of the Annex.

2.  For the purpose of carrying out its tasks, that Body shall consult on a regular basis and cooperate closely with civil society, including with organisations defending or representing the interests of people potentially exposed to discrimination and unequal treatment and with other relevant stakeholders.

Article 7

Advisory Committee

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by an advisory committee, composed of one representative per Member State and chaired by a representative of the Commission. The representative shall be designated preferably from the national implementing body as referred to in Article 6(1).

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 3 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

3.  The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.

Article 8

Financial arrangements

1.  Measures which are Community-wide in nature, as described in Part I of the Annex, may be subsidised up to 80% or give rise to procurement contracts financed from the general budget of the European Union .

2.  Measures which are local, regional or national, as described in Part II(5) of the Annex, may be co-financed from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 50% of the total consolidated costs of the actions implemented at local, regional or national level , and in accordance with the procedure referred to in Part II of the Annex.

Article 9

Application and selection procedure

1.  Decisions on the financing of measures under Article 8(1) shall be adopted by the Commission in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 7(2) .

2.  Requests for financial assistance for measures under Article 8(2) shall be submitted to the Commission by the national implementing bodies set up by the Member States in accordance with the procedure set out in Part II of the Annex.

Article 10

Consistency and complementarity

The Commission together with the Member States shall ensure consistency between the measures provided for in this Decision and other Community, national and regional action and initiatives.

They shall ensure full complementarity between the European Year and other existing Community, national and regional initiatives and resources , where the latter can help to attain the objectives of the European Year.

Article 11

Participation of Non-Member States

Participation in the European Year shall be open to:

   a) countries with which the European Union has signed a Treaty of Accession;
   b) candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, in accordance with the general principles and the general terms and conditions for the participation of these countries in Community programmes laid down, respectively, by the framework agreement and by the Decision of the Association Councils;
   (c) EFTA states that are party to the EEA Agreement in accordance with the provisions of that Agreement;
   d) the countries of Western Balkans in accordance with the arrangements to be established with those countries under the framework agreements on the general principles for their participation in Community programmes;
   e) the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries, in accordance with the general principles and the general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Community programmes laid down in the May 2004 Strategy Paper and the Country Action Plans. Any Community financial support for activities in ENP partner countries in this context will be covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument in accordance with the priorities and procedures established in the overall cooperation with those countries.

Article 12

Budget

The financial framework for the implementation of the activities referred to in this Decision for the period 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2007 shall be EUR 15 000 000, of which EUR 6 000 000 is for the period until 31 December 2006. For the period following 31 December 2006, the amount is indicative and shall be deemed to be confirmed if it is consistent for this phase with the multi-annual financial framework in force for the period commencing on 1 January 2007.

Article 13

International cooperation

Within the framework of the European Year, the Commission may cooperate with the relevant international organisations, in particular the Council of Europe and the United Nations .

Article 14

Monitoring and evaluation

The Commission shall submit, by 31 December 2008 at the latest, a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation, results and overall assessment of the measures provided for in this Decision.

Article 15

Entry into force

This Decision shall take effect on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President, The President

ANNEX

Nature of the actions referred to in Article 3

(I)  Community-wide action

1.  Meetings and events

   (a) Organisation of meetings at Community level
   (b) Organisation of events to raise awareness of the objectives of the European Year, including the conferences to open and close the European Year, by way of support granted to the countries holding the Council presidency at that time and the organisation of the first annual "Equality Summit".

2.  Information and promotional campaigns involving:

   (a) The development of a logo, accessible and available in a variety of formats, and slogans for the European Year, for use in connection with any activity linked to the European Year
   (b) An information campaign on a Community-wide scale
   (c) Appropriate measures to highlight the results and raise the visibility of Community actions and initiatives contributing to attaining the objectives of the European Year
   (d) The organisation of European competitions highlighting achievements and experiences in the themes of the European Year.

3.  Other actions

Surveys and studies on a Community-wide scale, including a series of questions intended to assess the impact of the European Year, to be included in a Eurobarometer survey and an evaluation report on the effectiveness and impact of the European Year.

4.  This funding may be in the form of:

   the direct purchase of goods and services, in particular in the field of communication, via open and/or restricted calls for tender
   the direct purchase of consultancy services, via open and/or restricted calls for tender
   subsidies allocated to cover the expenses of special events at European level to highlight and raise awareness of the European Year: this funding will not exceed 80% of the total expenditure incurred by the recipient.

The Commission may make use of technical and/or administrative assistance to the mutual benefit of the Commission and of the Member States, for example to finance outside expertise on a specific subject.

(II)   Actions at national level

1.  Actions at local, regional or national level may qualify for financing from the general budget of the European Union up to a maximum of 50% of the total costs per Member State.

2.  Following the adoption of this Decision, the Commission shall issue a call for proposals restricted to the national implementing bodies designated by Member States.

3.  Each national implementing body shall submit a single application for Community funding in response to the call for proposals. That grant application shall describe the national strategy and priorities for the European Year, the activities proposed for funding in the relevant Member State, as well as the organisations that are to be responsible for the implementation of each of the individual activities. The grant application shall be accompanied by a detailed budget setting out the total costs of the activities proposed and the amount and sources of co-funding. Eligible costs may include provision for personnel and administration costs incurred by the national implementing body.

4.  The national strategy and priorities for the European Year shall be set out in line with the general objectives set out in Article 2, and shall seek to ensure balanced treatment of all the grounds of discrimination referred to in that Article.

5.  The Commission shall evaluate and if necessary request modifications to the applications for Community funding submitted by the national implementing bodies, which shall be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the various national activities.

6.  Actions at local, regional or national level may include:

   (a) Meetings and events connected with the objectives of the European Year, including an event to launch the European Year
   (b) Information and educational campaigns and measures to disseminate the principles and underlying values celebrated by the European Year at national level including the organisation of awards and competitions
   (c) Surveys and studies other than those mentioned in Part I(3) above.

(III)  Action for which no financial aid from the Community budget is available

The Community will offer its moral support, including written authorisation to use the logo and other material associated with the European Year, for initiatives undertaken by public or private organisations, where those organisations can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the initiatives involved are or will be in progress during the European Year and are likely to contribute significantly to achieving one or more of the objectives of the European Year.

(1) Opinion of 14 December 2005 (not yet published in the Official Journal).
(2) Opinion of 16 November 2005 (not yet published in the Official Journal).
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 13 December 2005.
(4) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(5) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(6) OJ L 373, 21.12.2004, p. 37.
(7) OJ C ....
(8) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.
(10)* One month after the adoption of this Decision.

Last updated: 2 October 2008Legal notice