End of a fruitful dialogue? Impact of Brexit on Equality and anti-discrimination in the EU & UK
The UK has played a central role in contributing to the development of an equality and anti-discrimination framework at EU level. In many ways the UK is a forerunner in this field. The most recent 2000 EU directives on anti-discrimination were characterized by the Anglo-Dutch tradition on discrimination. As such, much of equality law in the UK derives from its membership of the EU.
The absence of the UK in the EU institutions will impact the development of new anti-discrimination laws and efficient implementation of current legislation.
“The UK has played, often disproportionally, a positive role in advancing EU-wide anti-discrimination legislation and campaigns. Had we stayed in the EU, the UK, its MEPs, active NGOs, trade unionists, and those with a sense of corporate social responsibility throughout the private sector, could have played a role in advancing implementation and in advancing new legislation” says MEP Claude Moraes.
There is a concern about what will happen to equality laws in the UK after it exits the EU. Today’s conference jointly hosted by Claude Moraes MEP, Equinet and the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) focused on the impact of Brexit on equality and anti-discrimination in the EU and the UK. One of the many challenges for the UK is the increase of hate speech and xenophobic political discourse surrounding the referendum.
The fruitful dialogue between the UK and EU on equality and anti-discrimination highlights the need to mainstream the issue throughout the Brexit negotiation talks. This means no regression from existing equality and non-discrimination mechanisms in order to ensure the protection of European citizens. The role of the national equality bodies will continue to be vital in advancing equality for all. It is also important that the subsequent reduction of EU budget does not have a disproportionate impact on equality and non-discrimination. It’s essential that close co-operation on equality and anti-discrimination continues between the UK and the EU.
“The EU is a valued champion for the values of equality and non-discrimination. Britain and Northern Ireland make and have made significant contributions to advancing these values and the policies required to underpin them at national and European levels. We hope that any future relationship would enable this contribution to be sustained and would be designed to lead to a further strengthening of these values in the EU and beyond,” says Equinet Chair, Evelyn Collins.