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Journal Articles Citizenship Studies Year : 2009

Equality in the making: implementing European non discrimination law


This article examines the development and implementation of European Union (EU) non-discrimination law since 2000. This empirical study allows us to investigate the dynamics of diffusion of the ‘international politics of diversity’ and their capacity to alter national ‘philosophies of integration’. The multi-level governance of equality and diversity is also interesting to study in the context of EU policy-building. The article first analyses the reasons why racial and ethnic equality emerged as an EU competence as an alternative to a politically unpalatable post-national citizenship agenda in the 1990s, yet fell short of protecting non EU nationals from discrimination on the basis of nationality. The second part of the paper assesses the implementation of the EU race directive in eight member states, focusing on judicial procedures and alternative forms of redress, positive action policies and ethnic monitoring. The study concludes that supranational law has been able to stir and reframe debates about integration in some of the old immigrant countries (France and Germany) by shifting the balance of forces between various actors. Notwithstanding, the introduction of new concepts and procedures is not always compatible with existing legal and mobilization cultures, and there has been little enactment of positive action policies. However, judicial processes are unlikely to be a solution to end structural discrimination or even redress feelings of injustice. The future of non-discrimination will depend on the success of equality bodies and civil society actors such as NGOs and trade unions to keep the issue on the political agenda. Finally, there are some inherent limits to what non-discrimination law focused on the socioeconomic sphere can achieve on the road to equality. The security of minorities requires their political empowerment, as a citizenship perspective would underline.
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hal-02186632 , version 1 (17-07-2019)



Virginie Guiraudon. Equality in the making: implementing European non discrimination law. Citizenship Studies, 2009, 13 (5), pp.527 - 548. ⟨hal-02186632⟩
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