The Fragmented Landscape of Fundamental Rights Protection in Europe
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The Fragmented Landscape of Fundamental Rights Protection in Europe

The Role of Judicial and Non-Judicial Actors

Edited by Lorenza Violini and Antonia Baraggia

The composite nature of the EU constitutional legal framework, and the presence of different rights protection actors within the European landscape, presents a complex and fragmented framework, still in search of a coherent structure. This discerning book provides a comprehensive perspective on fundamental rights protection in Europe, with engaging contributions considering not only the role of judicial actors but also the increasing relevance of non-judicial bodies, including agencies, national human rights institutions, the Venice Commission and equality bodies.
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Chapter 9: Promoting equality by non-judicial actors: The role of equality bodies in the European Union landscape

Maria Elena Gennusa


The chapter analyses the role played by the Equality Bodies (NEBs) established within the member states of the European Union in order to comply with the Directive 2000/43/EC and its offspring. After illustrating the variety of the national transpositions of a very vague European model, the author focuses on the tasks carried out by NEBs, particularly highlighting their unique position between the European and national legal orders. As a consequence, NEBs have the potential for performing a double and really crucial role, being capable of both implementing EU anti-discrimination law at national level better, and improving understanding of discrimination-related issues at European level. Unfortunately, however, the analysis carried out in the chapter reveals that, at least if we consider the overall European landscape, NEBs cannot yet deploy such strong potential in practice in many member states, due to legislative, political and financial constraints. Some initiatives have already been undertaken at national and European level to increase NEBs funding and resources, improve their accessibility, extend their competences and measure their effectiveness, but they are still very much at early stages. The conclusion of the author is that only if Europe is prepared to intensify their effort towards a full implementation of such initiatives, NEBs may really become key actors in the fights against discrimination in the future.

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