On January 17th, 2022, the European Commission launched a public consultation on possible gaps in the Racial Equality Directive. The consultation was part of a process aimed at addressing potential weaknesses in EU legislation prohibiting discrimination based on ethnic or racial origin. It followed up on the launch of the EU’s Anti-Racism Action Plan (2020-2025) and a 2021 report on the application of the Directive.
In Eurodiaconia’s submission to the consultation, we highlighted issues of structural racism, intersectionality, data collection, educational segregation, labour & housing market discrimination and the impact of crises on ethnic minorities.
Our submission to the consultation was based upon the work and experiences of our members who have expressed their concern about educational segregation, a lack of disaggregated data demonstrating the extent of racial discrimination and the disproportionate impacts of crises on ethnic minority communities.
Our recommendations are summarised below:
- Address structural and intersectional racism, not only individual incidences of racism, by embedding a commitment to anti-racism in systems and institutions that currently perpetuate racist structures and attitude
- Disaggregated data on discrimination, at a national level, is crucial for building an accurate picture of the scale of the issue. High-quality and usable data can then inform better policy interventions and support more reliable monitoring. To achieve this, standardised methodologies for the collection of ethnic data must be established.
- Racism and anti-discrimination should not only be addressed through specific racial equality frameworks but should also be mainstreamed across all relevant areas, such as migration, gender, health, climate, employment, social inclusion and digitalisation.
- Discrimination in our education systems, particularly the existence of segregated Roma schools in several EU member states, should be confronted with clear repercussions and desegregation measures.
- Discrimination in both the labour and housing markets must be tackled by a strong anti-discrimination approach that combats profiling and exclusion based on people’s names, origin or perceived status.
- Address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities and the scapegoating of ethnic minority communities for spread of the virus. Effective anti-discrimination laws need to be combined with targeted support for communities in times of crisis.
Any possible amendments to the Directive, as well as subsequent policies and interventions, will only be effective with the active participation of people from ethnic & racial minority backgrounds. Their engagement in the development, implementation and monitoring of policies is crucial in ensuring measures are relevant and effective.
Any amendments to the Directive are planned to be proposed by the Commission in Autumn 2022.