Questions on conditionality and assessment
1. Do you agree with establishment of funding being conditional on rule of law (COM(2018) 324)? If adopted, it would allow the Council at the proposal of the Commission to cease all or part of European Union (EU) funds in Member States with generalised rule of law deficiencies.
2. How will you assess EU programmes and funding opportunities to determine if they meet the requirement of non-discrimination and participation, and where necessary, to take corrective measures without delay?
3. How would you ensure that strategies for marginalised communities, such as the Roma National Integration Strategies, are implemented and effectively monitored and what would do in the cases of non-implementation, lack of monitoring and misuse of funds?
4. Do you commit to a robust, quality-focused and long-term monitoring and financial accountancy scheme to check the performance of Member States when using EU programmes?
Questions on rule of law and infringement procedures
1. How will you ensure Member States comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights when they act to implement EU law?
2. Do you intend to actively use the Commission’s discretion in infringements proceedings to counter violations of the Charter in EU Member States?
3. How do you intend to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of rule of law monitoring in the Member States?
4. What actions will you take regarding Member States that have systematic and persistent fundamental rights violations beyond the legal limits posed by EU competences?
5. How will you ensure that Member States currently subject to an Article 7 procedure either remedy the existing risks to the rule of law or will be effectively sanctioned?
6. How will you ensure that candidate countries will abide by the Copenhagen Criteria including democracy, rule of law and minorities’ rights, once they have joined the Union, i.e. how will you prevent “Rule of Law Backsliding” of future Member States
Questions on civil dialogue
“[The EU] shall by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action.”
1. How would you ensure that there is a transparent, regular and direct dialogue with civil society that work at the grassroots level often with the most vulnerable?
2. Do you commit to a set of guidelines to foster quality and meaningful engagement with civil society in the development, implementation and monitoring of policies? How would you implement and monitor such a system at EU and Member State level, across all the institutions?
Questions on racism, discrimination, gender equality and illegal content online
1. How will you combat racism and discrimination and promote gender equality within the scope of EU competences?
2. How will you ensure implementation of existing legislation in Member States of the Race Equality Directive of 2000, Employment Equality Directive of 2000 and Framework Decision on Combatting on certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia?
3. How will you work with Member States to ensure the renewal of the EU Roma Framework and mandatory adoption of national strategies that will prioritise combating anti-Gypsyism and address social inclusion?
4. How will you work with Member States to ensure the adoption of the Horizontal Equal Treatment Directive, which ensures protection on the grounds of age, disability, religion/belief, and sexual orientation which the European Parliament has continuously called on the Council to adopt?
5. Will you advocate for an EU framework for national strategies on racism and discrimination in particular focusing on Afrophboia, anti-Gypsyism, Antisemitism and Islamophobia?
6. How will you work with EU Member States ensure systems of equality data collection, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, to measure persistent inequalities?
7. What actions will you take to promote an intersectional approach to combatting racism and discrimination as well as achieving gender equality?
8. On countering illegal content online, what actions are you planning to take to ensure the legal guidance that the Commission issued in the form of a “Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online” and the “Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online” are adhered to?
Questions on counterterrorism
1. Combatting terrorism while respecting individual freedom, remains one of the key concerns of EU citizens. Terrorism costs lives, impacts families and has a detrimental social and economic effect. Measures have been put forward to prevent terrorism through supporting national efforts to prevent radicalisation and recruitment, terrorist financing and the possession and acquisition of weapons and explosives. However, there remain concerns about fundamental rights compliance and disproportionate impact on suspects and groups in society. How will you ensure an evidence-based EU criminal and counterterrorism legislation and policy that ensures safety and upholds fundamental rights?
2. How will you ensure that counterterrorism legislation and policy does not target particular communities?
3. In terms of institutional framework, how will you ensure that counterterrorism legislation and policy remains under the consideration of fundamental rights and civil liberties and not purely law enforcement?
Questions on migration
1. Do you agree that the fundamental principles of the EU must apply to all citizens, and that the free movement does not allow collective expulsions and any kind of racial profiling?
2. How do you intend to bring the revision of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) to successful completion?
3. What is your long term vision on the development of the CEAS and European Integrated Border Management. Are you in favour of further harmonisation? What role do you envisage for agencies such as Frontex and EASO?
4. How will you ensure compliance with the obligation in the Treaty that EU law complies with the 1951 Geneva Convention and international and European human rights standards?
5. How do you intend to address the humanitarian situation in the hotspots?
6. Would you agree that there need to be consequences for Member States that are unwilling to carry their fair share of responsibility for providing refugee protection and if so, which?
7. What measures will you take to ensure that humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees is not criminalized in the Member States?
8. How do you intend to ensure that migrants and refugees that report human rights abuses or require access to basic humanitarian assistance will not be reported to migration authorities?
9. What action do you intend to take to prevent the loss of life at sea, in particular given the fact that ships in Operation Sophia no longer take engage in SAR activities?
10. How do you intend to improve the accountability of Frontex, in particular in view of its new statutory staff and power to operate in third country territory. Do you believe current accountability mechanisms suffice?
11. How do you intend to improve legal pathways for safe and orderly migration?
12. How do you intend to ensure the involvement of the Parliament in agreements with third countries, in particular as regards readmission and return?
13. What is your position on cooperation with third countries in particular with Libya?
14. Access to health care, education and housing to name but a few, are fundamental to the successful integration of third country nationals and to protect non-EU nationals, their children in particular. How do you intend to use the supporting competence available in Article 79(4) of the TFEU?
15. How will you intend to bring revision on the blue card directive which aims to attract non-EU highly qualified workers to meet economic needs and demographic changes?
Question on implementation of 2030 Agenda
1. How would you ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Developments Goals by the EU?
Questions on post EU2020 strategy
1. What process do you foresee for post EU2020 strategy, and how will you ensure a rights-based approach that delivers on social priorities?
2. How will you prioritise the social dimension within the European Semester, to ensure that economic and fiscal priorities don’t undermine social rights and the delivery of social inclusion for all, including the most vulnerable?
3. How will you foster and ensure synergies between post EU2020 strategy and National Roma Inclusion Strategies?
Questions on Pillar of Social Rights
The Pillar of Social Rights is about delivering more effective access to rights for citizens including the 20 principles which if implemented can help tackle economic and social exclusion of minorities.
1. How will you ensure that the European Pillar of Social Rights will underpin the post EU2020 strategy and ensure that the 20 principles are mainstreamed throughout the new strategy?
2. How will you improve the Social Scoreboard to ensure its indicators cover all of the 20 principles and how will you counter the race to the bottom currently promoted by the benchmarking with EU average, instead of ambitious common objectives?
3. Will you support a full implementation roadmap for the EPSR, including concrete policy action on key areas delivering on equal access and opportunities in education, employment, healthcare, housing, and access to essential services, among others?
4. How wold you mainstream anti-discrimination and minority rights into the EPSR?
Questions on Social Fund
The European Social Fund is the main tool for promoting employment and social inclusion.
1. How will you ensure and monitor that ESF is allocated to projects that deliver A) Training and employment opportunities for minorities, B) Social inclusion, C) Improved access to education and quality education for minorities, 4) Improved public services in areas where minorities live?
2. How will you ensure that the ESF is not used to reproduce inequalities on national and local level?
3. Are you committed to aligning the next ESF with the social priorities of the post EU2020 strategy, on the model of the current 20% earmarking for social protection and social inclusion? How will you monitor this implementation?
Questions on European Regional Development Fund
The ERDF aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions.
1. How will you work with your fellow Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs to reduce the unemployment rate in the most disadvantaged regions?
2. Cohesion Policy supports reforms for an investment-friendly environment. How would you ensure that the most underprivileged can access support for small and medium-sized enterprises?
3. The Community Led Local Development program (CLLD) has had an impact at regional and local level. How would you ensure that the views and needs of minorities are considered?
Questions on education
1. How will you ensure non-discrimination in education, as well as effective countering of school segregation and bullying on the basis of race, ethnicity and socio-economic status?
2. How will you support and supplement Member States to ensure quality and inclusive education and training systems that address the needs of all?
3. How will you support and supplement Member States to tackle school leaving and adult illiteracy among racial and ethnic minorities?
4. How will you support and supplement Member States to ensure wrap-around support for poor households and families as well ensuring that free education is indeed free and does not contribute to social indebtedness?
5. How will you support and supplement Member States to ensure that teachers are adequately trained and equipped to address diversity in the classroom?
6. How will you ensure that education curricula do not exclude histories of minority groups, including their contribution to European society?
7. Will you propose financial support for targeted activities and educational projects, to build up and strengthen partnerships with communities and institutions, and to encourage exchanges between children and young people of different faiths and backgrounds via joint activities, launching and supporting awareness-raising?
Questions on employment
Many of the groups protected under the EU’s discrimination legislation often represent an untapped source of skills and talent. However, European Network Against Racism’s (ENAR) report on Racism & Discrimination in Employment in Europe 2013-2017 and fact-finding work by the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network’s highlighted that in the field of employment:
• The financial crisis and policy response continue to have particularly harsh consequences for racial and ethnic minorities;
• Racial, ethnic minorities and migrants face significant discrimination in employment;
• Racial, ethnic minorities and migrants face job insecurity and wage disparities;
• Racial, ethnic minorities and migrants tend to have jobs further down the hierarchy and lower wages, and they have a much higher unemployment rate and are overrepresented in certain job positions or sectors, which may be a result of structural discriminatory inequalities;
• Roma women are the most excluded from the labour market and face discrimination in recruitment and in the workplace;
• There is a lack of law enforcement and coherence in some judicial systems despite the existence of a strong European anti-discrimination legal framework.
These findings clearly show that racism and discrimination is occurring in the labour market despite the Employment Equality Directive of 2000, Race Equality Directive of 2000 and various Directives related to gender equality.
1. How will you ensure protection at the workplace from abuse and harassment?
2. What will you do to tackle unequal treatment in recruitment?
3. What will you do to prevent wage disparities and discrimination in career progression – tackling the pay and pension racial, ethnic and gender gap?
4. How would you ensure that gender perspective is applied concerning employment of groups experiencing racism and discrimination, for example closing the gap between minority women and minority men as well between minority women and women belonging to the majority population?
Questions on youth
The Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship, traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. The Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes.
ERGO Network assessment on YEI – Opportunities for young Roma 2016 revealed in six countries that there is:
• Insufficient capacity of Public Employment Services (PESs) to help candidates properly;
• Lack of information and communication to potential beneficiaries;
• Complicated and cumbersome registration procedures which pose a real obstacle for potential beneficiaries. This applies in particular to those who lack basic understanding of administrative language or IT skills, which are often taken for granted in registration procedures;
• Lack of sustained efforts to encourage participation of those furthest from the labour market which limits the opportunities of those that are most in need.
1. How will you ensure that YEI reaches and supports minority youth and regions with a large minority population where youth unemployment is higher than 25%?
2. How would you ensure that the YEI has specific indicators to reach the most disadvantaged with tailored made trainings?
3. How will you make sure that YEI and YG are contextualised in an integrated approach which equally features access to adequate income support and enabling, quality services?
4. How would you make Member States understand the important role of the PES to make the program reach its indicators?