Making equality bodies more independent cannot protect them from EU governments

A recent Hungarian example shows that the brewing EU legislation that will aim to bolster the bloc’s discrimination fighting bodies will not be enough to keep straying governments in check, Máté Szabó, a civil rights lawyer at TASZ (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union), warned in a video interview with EURACTIV.

By next year, the European Commission has committed to coming up with a legislative proposal to give the EU’s so-called equality bodies more muscle.

These institutions that combat discrimination, — required by the bloc’s equal treatment legislation since 2000  — currently lack uniformity and minimum standards.

Using a recent Hungarian experience of an institutional reshuffle as an example, Szabó argued that formalistic independence requirements will not be enough to guarantee competent institutions.

According to him, the EU “cannot force its member states to have truly functional, effective bodies.”

“If the member state does not want to cooperate in this, it does not want the violation of their citizens’ rights to equal treatment to be brought to justice, then regardless of the institution [the EU] will set up, it will not function properly,” he added.



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