Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency: Federal Government must act promptly to implement EU recommendations on equality bodies – Franke: “There is a clear need for adaptation in Germany”

Year of issue 2018
Date 2018.07.03

The independent Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has called on the Federal Government for rapid implementation of the Standards for Equality Bodies, which were recently presented by the EU Commission.

"The EU Commission expressed very clearly that an institution such as the Anti-Discrimination Agency needs more effective means to efficiently address systemic and structural discrimination", said Bernhard Franke, acting head of the Anti-Discrimination Agency, in Berlin on Tuesday. "Equality bodies should be able to represent those affected in court – this is why they need the right to engage in litigation. In addition, they should have the possibility to issue binding decisions in individual or collective cases of discrimination, as well as impose appropriate sanctions, and they should be consulted in a timely and transparent manner on policy and legislative projects that fall within their field of responsibility", Franke added.
Late June 2018, the European Commission adopted recommendations regarding the organisation of equality bodies in the member states. The Commission thereby seeks to set out standards to ensure the bodies can function independently and effectively, as well as helping those affected pursue their legal rights in cases of discrimination.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz/AGG), in 2016 the Anti-Discrimination Agency commissioned a comprehensive evaluation of the Act, whose proposals for reform of the AGG largely correspond to the recommendations from Brussels. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) only recently issued very similar recommendations. By European standards, the Anti-Discrimination Agency is counted among the equality bodies with the weakest legal standing. For instance, it does not have its own right to engage in litigation, nor can it provide assistance to citizens in court proceedings nor does the Federal Government involve it in legislative processes.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS for its initials in German) was established when the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG) entered into force in August 2006. This Act aims to prevent or eliminate any discrimination on grounds of racism or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.