Strengthening the role and independence of equality bodies

EESC opinion: Strengthening the role and independence of equality bodies

Key points



  • welcomes the initiative to give equality bodies the role of advocates for the rights of victims of discrimination and it emphasises the importance of striking the right balance between setting out standards for equality bodies and subsidiarity, while ensuring that increasing the strength and effectiveness of equality bodies remains a priority;
  • requests that intersectionality and multiple forms of discrimination be taken into account in policies at both national and EU level, and welcomes the clarification that accessibility for all also requires attention to the accessibility requirements of persons with disabilities;
  • welcomes the introduction of a legal obligation for equality bodies to be free from external influence and provisions to ensure that they have sufficient human, technical and financial resources;
  • recommends that Member States should be required to report on actions taken in relation to their interactions with equality bodies;
  • suggests that the reporting timeframe of the supervision mechanism can be reduced to three years;
  • considers it very important to respect the diversity of national legal frameworks on non-discrimination and to take into account differences in the way social partners and civil society organisations are involved in the process. The EESC also recognises that exercising investigative powers in the context of proceedings on behalf of or in support of victims of discrimination must be without prejudice to the powers of courts and other public monitoring bodies;
  • calls for proportionate compensation to be guaranteed for the offence suffered by the victim and penalties to be ensured for offenders, with a view to focusing on the victims of discrimination;
  • recommends the development of information campaigns on EU rights and respect for diversity, that can be carried out at local level by national equality bodies, with special attention for vulnerable groups, children and young people at school;
  • calls for the regular collection and analysis of disaggregated data to monitor inequalities and discrimination.