Chapter 5: Equality 2: New Grounds, New Techniques
Now that we have got to grips with the basics of equality law in the EU, through analysis of the provisions on gender equality, we are in a position to assess some of the more recent developments in EU equality law. We will focus on two main areas: the enlargement of the EU’s competence to legislate on grounds of discrimination other than gender, and the emergence of new techniques for enforcing or promoting equality alongside individual litigation. NEW GROUNDS The EU’s heavy focus on gender equality has come to seem slightly anomalous in modern times, given the general acceptance of the fact that there are many other forms of discrimination in society and in the workplace. Moreover, the EU’s relative effectiveness in addressing sex discrimination has made it an obvious target for pressure groups campaigning for legal action to combat other types of discrimination. Article 21(1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights identifies a long list of prohibited grounds of discrimination: Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited. Moreover, this list is illustrative and would not preclude the recognition of other grounds. However, as is well known, the EU Charter does not create legislative competences for the EU. For the EU’s power to legislate on discrimination, we need to look to the treaties. The...
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