6.1 INTRODUCTION The principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination are at the centre of the European Social Model. These principles provide a cornerstone of the fundamental rights and values that support the European Union. Prior to the Amsterdam Treaty, Community anti-discrimination law had a remit limited to discrimination on grounds of gender and EU nationality. This limited remit was subject to criticism (Bell, 2000) and Article 13 of the EC Treaty opened up the prospects of further Community action in the areas of discrimination based upon racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability age or sexual orientation. This resulted in Directive 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, and Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, both of which were required to be transposed by Member States during 2003. Equal pay for women and men for work of equal value was a fundamental principle of the EC treaty, the Equal Pay Directive of 1975 being the first Directive adopted in the area of equal treatment for women and men. However as we noted in Chapter 4, substantial pay gaps by gender still persist in most Member States and recently an indicator of the gender pay gap has been added to the structural indicators established to monitor progress to achieve the Lisbon objectives. The Lisbon Strategy attaches prime importance to raising the employment rate in the EU. In turn, as explained in section 4.6.1 above, this...
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