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European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) – Towards a Just Society

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The aim of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All is to raise awareness of the advantages of a just and solidarity-based society. It advocates awareness-raising initiatives to combat discriminatory attitudes and behaviour and to inform people of their legal rights and obligations. It takes an across-the-board approach to non-discrimination that should ensure the correct and uniform application of the Community legislative framework throughout Europe by highlighting its essential principles and gaining the active support of the public for legislation on non-discrimination and equality.

ACT

Decision No 771/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 establishing the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) – towards a just society.

SUMMARY

In spite of the progress achieved so far at European level in eliminating discrimination and promoting equal opportunities, much remains to be done. All legislation, regardless of the care taken in its drafting, will go unheeded if the political will to translate it into long-term action is lacking and if it does not benefit from widespread public support.

The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All will provide an opportunity to promote a more solidarity-based society. The aim will be to raise public awareness of the substantial Community acquis in the field of equality and non-discrimination and to mobilise everyone concerned in order to drive forward the European Union's new framework strategy on non-discrimination and equal opportunities, also after 2007.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

Raising public awareness of the right to equality and non-discrimination

The public must become more familiar with European legislation on equality and non-discrimination, which represent common values and principles in the European Union (EU). The aim in 2007 will be to convey to the entire population the message that everyone, regardless of their gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation, has the right to equal treatment.

Encouraging a debate on ways of strengthening participation in society

A debate and suitable dialogue should be opened with a view to increasing the participation of groups that are victims of discrimination and ensuring balanced participation among men and women.

Celebrating and welcoming diversity

The aim of this European Year will be to raise awareness of the positive contribution anyone can make to society as a whole, regardless of their gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Working towards a more solidarity-based society

The European Year will encourage efforts to raise public awareness of how important it is to promote good relations between the various groups in society, particularly young people, and to eliminate stereotypes, prejudice and violence.

CONTENT OF THE ACTIONS, BUDGET AND SELECTION OF GRANT APPLICATIONS

The actions, whether conducted at Community or national level, aim to achieve the four objectives defined above and comprise:

  • meetings and events (e.g. launch and closing conferences, the first annual summit on equality);
  • information and promotion campaigns (logo, slogans, competitions, etc.);
  • surveys and studies at Community or national level.

The budget earmarked for the 2007 European Year for the period from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2007 is 15 million euros, including 6 million euros for the period ending 31 December 2006.

Community-level actions may receive subsidies of up to 80% or give rise to a public open tender financed by the general budget of the EU. Local, regional or national measures can receive a maximum of 50% co-financing from the general budget of the EU for total consolidated costs.

IMPLEMENTATION

The Commission will guarantee that the activities defined at European level are consistent with and complement other relevant actions at Community level (Structural Funds, rural development, education, citizenship, fundamental rights) and at national and regional levels.

Work in partnership with the participating countries

Participation in the Year is open to the Member States, EFTA/EEA countries, candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, Western Balkan countries in accordance with the arrangements laid down in their respective agreements, and partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Each Member State shall establish or designate a national implementing body to organise its participation in the European Year, define the national strategy and priorities and select the individual actions to be proposed for Community funding.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision No 771/2006/EC

20.6.2006

-

OJ L 146 of 31.5.2006

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 19 June 2009 – Implementation, results and overall assessment of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All [COM(2009) 269 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities was a success both in terms of the practical and financial implementation of its objectives. The participating countries launched 434 actions, which resulted in approximately 1 600 events, campaigns, publications, etc. These actions fulfilled the key implementation principles: decentralisation and balanced treatment of all grounds for discrimination. The cross- and multi-ground approaches enhanced cooperation between the relevant national, regional and local authorities and included civil society and social partners. In addition, more emphasis was given to multiple discrimination and gender mainstreaming than ever before.
At the EU level, the Year was implemented in various ways. An advisory committee was established to involve key actors, a forum “European Parliament of Equal Opportunities for All” was organised for the promotion of dialogue with civil society, three Eurobarometer surveys were carried out and an EU-wide information and educational campaign was launched.
The success of the Year resulted in particular from the political commitment on all levels. Member States allocated considerable resources to the practical implementation and many of the actions begun during the Year will be continued or repeated. For the first time, Member States also focused on certain types of discrimination, such as those based on age, racial or ethnic background and sexual orientation. National strategies were drafted to tackle the newly identified issues, which also resulted in enhanced cooperation with civil society.
At the EU level, the Year led to the adoption of a Council resolution on its follow-up and to a number of Commission measures, such as a proposal for a directive on equal treatment, a communication on non-discrimination and equal opportunities, a decision on setting up a non-discrimination governmental expert group and a staff working paper on Roma inclusion. The Commission will continue to develop measures against discrimination, in particular by further studying the situation in the EU, responding to violations of rights and identifying new solutions, especially to Roma inclusion.

Last updated: 04.12.2009
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