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On 18 September, the European Commission (EC) published a new EU anti-racism Action Plan (full title: A Union of equality: EU anti-racism action plan 2020-2025) and put forward an ambitious set of measures and actions until 2025 for actors at all levels of policymaking and implementation to fight discrimination and racism on all grounds in the EU and in external relations. Referring the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, together with the 2000 Racial Equality Directive and the 2008 Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, the action plan calls for joint action across sectors, levels of governance, competence and implementation, addressing discrimination both at individual and structural level through an intersectional approach.
The plan sets forth further policy actions towards a comprehensive EU approach to anti-discrimination and inclusion. Some of them are planned for this year already, such as an EU action plan on integration and inclusion, Roma and LGBTI+ equality strategies as well as a disability rights strategy, planned for 2021. It outlines measures for monitoring implementation of existing policies and frameworks, such as the report on the application of the 2000 Directive (planned for 2021) on the basis of which further legislation may follow, and in relation to it, assessing in the course of 2021 the role and functioning of the designated equality bodies in Member States. The EC will work further to ensure proper transposition of the 2008 Framework decision, which stipulates criminal action in cases of racism and xenophobia. Part of the plan sets out actions to tackle structural racism – the often less visible or conscious forms of culturally or institutionally embedded discrimination – by means of awareness-raising and commemorative events, and media-supported campaigns (e.g.: seminars on Roma, inclusion of Roma history in curricula, storytelling events about Muslims and Islam, etc.). The EC also plans to launch an annual designation of European capital(s) of inclusion and diversity. Cooperation with the private sector is to be enhanced, both through expanding the pool of signatories of diversity charters (currently covering 24 MS and over 12000 committed bodies – both private and public) and by developing an online toolkit to support companies enhance their diversity strategies and assess the level of staff diversity.
When it comes to education, the plan states that “inclusion and fairness in education will be among the priority dimensions of the European Education Area (EEA)” and that the same will apply to the updated Digital Education Action Plan (DEAP). More about EEA and DEAP can be found here and here. A strategy planned for 2021 on the rights of the child is to cover all fields of education, training, youth and sport and be addressed by the next Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps. Support for educators and the wider community is planned though a range of initiatives and support networks, one of the being the Radicalisation Awareness Network. To ensure a sustained exchange, the EC plans regular consultation and dialogue with Members States, equality bodies, local actors and more engagement with civil society, education and training actors, academia and other relevant partners across sectors.
More information about the action plan:
The factsheet is available here.
The action plan is available here.