- recalls that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines the principle of equality before the law for all, the EESC points out that the application of this principle not only prohibits discrimination, but also promotes the consistent application of the rule of law;
- believes that instruments for the protection of fundamental rights should be developed in a uniform way throughout the Union. Differences in legal protection produce unacceptable rights hierarchies and leave entire groups of people unprotected;
- strongly urges the Council, the Parliament and the Commission to further develop protection against discrimination in access to goods and services, notably by adopting the proposal for a directive, COM(2008) 426 of 2 July 2008 on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Furthermore, The EESC:
- regrets that the current European protection system is essentially based on victims' individual recourse to judicial redress and to the law;
- stresses that inequalities and complex discrimination created by social structures can only be addressed through consistent and complex policies, real resources and long-term engagement;
- calls for the development of the next generation of measures to promote equality in Europe, based on the recognition of the general principle of equality and of the positive obligations to enforce this principle;
- stresses that technological developments can create new inequalities, creating a need to intervene in order to ensure the principle of equal treatment is monitored and applied;
- supports EU standards that facilitate the implementation of collective action in the Member States that improve both access to judicial redress and its impact on combating discrimination and upholding equal treatment;
- believes that Member States should ensure security, equal treatment, and protection of political, trade union and community actors as a corollary of its values of democracy, the rule of law, and non-discrimination based on political opinions;
- calls on the improvement of the ability of all civic actors to work with existing legal instruments and to work with public institutions (in particular those involved in the protection of human rights).