Mid-September 2022 marked the second anniversary of the adoption of the EU Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025 (EU ARAP) by the European Commission. In order to take stock of the progress in the fight against racism, the Action Plan foresees strengthened participation of civil society organizations working with racialized groups at European, national and local levels.
To this accord, the Commission has set up a Permanent Anti-Racism Civil Society Forum to participate in the consultative processes and support the Commission in the implementation of the action plan. This permanent mechanism enables to meet each other at least four times a year.
These meetings allowed civil society organizations to put forward their input with regard to the implementation of the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan.
As part of this process, the Commission will hold a one-day workshop on racial discrimination intersecting with the socio-economic status (SES) on January 24th , followed by the fourth official meeting with the CSO representatives of the Permanent Anti-Racism Civil Society Forum taking place on January 25th.. Due to the COVID19 pandemic restrictions, this two-day event will be the first in-person meeting since the Forum's establishment.
The Commission aims at creating a strong partnership culture with civil society actors to promote social inclusion, fundamental rights and equality from the policy design to the implementation phase. As indicated in the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025, the Commission has set out with the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, concrete initiatives to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The delivery on the Pillar is a joint effort by EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society. Regardless of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, everyone has the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Equal opportunities of under-represented groups shall be fostered .
Social origin as a ground for discrimination is a subject of a rising interest. On April 2022, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution stressing that discrimination on the ground of social origin accentuates poverty and social exclusion. It also causes wages inequality that longs during the whole career of the victims. The Assembly called Member States to clearly prohibit this discrimination and organize provisions for individual pleas.
Discrimination on the ground of social origin jeopardize the meritocratic foundations of the European democracies. As social mobility stagnates, there is no need to recall that racialized communities experience ongoing and disproportionate levels of poverty as well as worsen access to health and job opportunities when equally qualified.
This multiple discrimination aggravates the situation of certain groups and it means that certain situations and disadvantages are difficult to fully understand and respond to without taking socio-economic status into account. An intersectional reading of this phenomenon can help highlighting how class intersects with racial origin to create specific vulnerabilities.
The agenda below for the in-person meeting with CSOs representatives on Wednesday January 25 was set based on topics considered by the Forum members. A networking meeting with members of the European Parliament ARDI Intergroup is also planned at the beginning of the session (tbc).
The European Commission will finance the fourth official meeting with the Permanent Anti-Racism Civil Society Forum. More specifically, it would cover travel expenses for ten (10) NGO representatives and potential speakers/experts living outside Brussels. The meeting will be held in the European Commission premises (CDMA, 21 rue du Champ de Mars/1050 Brussels).
This event will provide a forum for: