European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli was in Malta on a two-day mission on 10 and 11 December 2020. In her first ‘country mission’ to Malta, following an invitation from the Human Rights Directorate within the Ministry for Justice, Equality and Governance, Commissioner Dalli addressed the conference marking International Human Rights Day on 10th December.
The mission was also an opportunity to mark the first anniversary of the von der Leyen Commission and Commissioner Dalli’s first year at the helm of the equality portfolio.
In her address, Commissioner Dalli said: “At the European level during the first year of this Commission’s mandate we adopted five equality strategies and two more are in the pipeline for early next year, to make sure that we leave no-one behind. I call on Member States to adopt equivalent equality strategies at the national level.”
During her mission, Commissioner Dalli also addressed the Joint Parliamentary Committees for Family Affairs and Social Affairs, held bilateral meetings with Government and an extensive consultation meeting with the bodies working on matters falling within her portfolio.
In her discussions, Commissioner Dalli laid emphasis on the portfolio initiatives that were launched in 2020 to achieve a true Union of Equality, where equality and human rights are inextricable.
For all people to be able to fully enjoy their inalienable human rights, efforts to achieve equality are crucial. In the first twelve months of this mandate the European Commission launched:
- the EU Gender Equality Strategy,
- the Gender Action Plan III in external relations,
- the Anti-racism Action Plan,
- the EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation, and
- the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy.
Meanwhile, work on the EU Disability Rights Strategy and the Strategy tackling Anti-Semitism is ongoing, and both will be launched during 2021.
Commissioner Dalli had the opportunity to discuss the different methodologies pertaining to her portfolio with the various interlocutors, with a particular focus on equality mainstreaming. Similar to the Taskforce for Equality that was set up at the beginning of her mandate, member states can also benefit from equivalent setups at the national level, which would serve as the hub for the mainstreaming of equality across all government services.
Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025
The Gender Equality Strategy is a comprehensive, future-oriented framework, for a Europe where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free; where they have the opportunity to thrive and to lead.
The Strategy delivers on a number of crucial issues, primary of which is addressing the gender pay gap through pay transparency, where the Commission will present binding pay transparency measures. Other measures include the fight against gender based violence and violence against women – a concern that has intensified during the COVID-19 lockdowns; achieving a better work-life balance for parents and carers by supporting the Member States in their transposition of the 2019 Work-Life Balance Directive and working towards an increase female representation in decision-making.
Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025
The EU Anti-racism action plan addresses the scourge of racism. Among others, the action plan calls for better enforcement of EU law, closer coordination with people with a minority racial or ethnic background, fair policing and protection, reinforced action at national level through national action plans, and increased diversity of EU staff. An EU anti-racism coordinator will be appointed early in 2021 to monitor the implementation of the Anti-racism Action Plan.
The Commission is conscious that further effort is necessary and is working on a Report on the Race Equality Directive (2021), further legislative proposals and an effort to adopt national plans by 2022.
LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025
The LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025 affirms that being LGBTIQ is not an ideology, it is an identity. While some progress was towards LGBTIQ equality was achieved in the EU over the past years, discrimination against LGBTIQ people persists.
The Strategy proposes to extend the list of EU crimes to cover hate crime, including LGBTIQphobic hate speech and hate crime and to bring forward the legislation on the mutual recognition of parenthood in cross boarder situations, among others. It also ensures that LGBTIQ concerns are well reflected in EU policy-making, so that LGBTIQ people, in all their diversity, are safe to be and to love whoever they want while having equal opportunities to prosper and fully participate in society.
- Publication date
- 18 December 2020