Brussels, 16 February 2011
Gender equality: European Commission closes cases against Austria and Hungary
The European Commission has today closed legal proceedings against Austria for failing to communicate national measures to implement EU rules against gender discrimination in employment (Directive 2006/54/EC, see MEMO/08/742) and against Hungary for incorrectly implementing them. The Directive aims to ensure equal treatment for women and men in the workplace. The cases were successfully concluded after Austria notified the Commission of its legislation and Hungary brought its national law into line with the Directive's requirements following the Commission's action.
The Commission began infringement proceedings against Austria (see IP/10/319) because the authorities only partially communicated national measures. In particular, the government did not communicate measures transposing the Directive in several of the country's regions (Länder).
Following the reasoned opinion, Austria informed the Commission that the required legislation transposing the Directive had been adopted on the regional level. As a result, the Commission now considers that Austria has transposed the Directive and has closed the infringement proceeding.
The Commission launched infringement proceedings against Hungary (see also IP/08/1821) for incorrectly transposing Directive 2006/54/EC, in particular concerning the application of principle of equal treatment to membership in organisations of workers or employers.
Following the Commission's intervention, Hungary adopted a new law amending its existing legislation in July 2009. This brought national law into line with the Directive regarding the issue raised by the Commission.
The Commission dropped other issues including compensation for victims of discrimination and independence of national equality body after Hungary clarified the applicable rules within the national legal system as a whole.
Directive 2006/54/EC (recasting Directive 2002/73/EC) is a central element in the broader body of European legislation on equal treatment between women and men. It aims to implement the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the field of employment and occupation. It introduces, in particular, detailed definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment. It also requires the creation of a body or bodies for the promotion, analysis, monitoring and support of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of sex and requires Member States to encourage dialogue with non-governmental organisations. The deadline for implementing the Directive into national law was 5 October 2005.
EU gender equality legislation:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner: