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Non-discrimination (the principle of)

The aim of this principle is to ensure equality of treatment for individuals irrespective of nationality, sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The Treaty of Lisbon makes this principle a European Union (EU) objective. It introduces a horizontal clause with a view to integrating the fight against discrimination in all European Union’s policies and actions (Article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).

Furthermore, the EU may adopt regulations banning discrimination based on nationality, pursuant to Article 18 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

In addition, a special legislative procedure facilitates the fight against discrimination. The Council may therefore adopt all the necessary measures, acting unanimously and after obtaining consent from the European Parliament.

Under the ordinary legislative procedure, European institutions may adopt basic principles aimed at guiding Member State action in combating discrimination.

European citizens may exercise their right to judicial recourse in cases of direct or indirect discrimination, specifically in cases of being treated differently in comparable situations or for reasons of a disadvantage which cannot be justified by a legitimate and proportional objective.

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