a) The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Article 21 of the Charter prohibits any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation. Subject to certain exceptions, Article 21 of the Charter also prohibits any discrimination on grounds of nationality.
b) The legislative powers and their limits
According to Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Union is empowered to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Moreover, Article 18 TFEU refers to the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality.
c) Existing measures
Council Directive 2000/43/EC(22) (the Racial Equality Directive) prohibits discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin in access to employment, to self-employment and to occupation, employment and working conditions, education, vocational training, social protection, social advantages, and access to goods and services which are available to the public, including housing. Council Directive 2000/78/EC(23) (the Employment Equality Directive) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as regards access to employment, self-employment, occupation and vocational training. Both directives prohibit various forms of discrimination: direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, instruction to discriminate and victimisation. The EU is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.(24)
Legally residing third-country nationals that are long-term residents or covered by other EU Directives(25) should enjoy equal treatment with nationals of host countries in a number of areas notably working conditions, including pay and dismissal, access to education and vocational training, social security. In 2004, Member States adopted Common Basic Principles of integration of third-country nationals that constitute a framework for policy cooperation on integration in the EU and a framework against which Member States can judge and assess their own efforts.
Council Recommendation 2013/C 378/01(26) provides guidance on effective Roma integration measures in Members States, in particular as regards access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.
(22) Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the Principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(23) Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(24) Council Decision of 26 November 2009 concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, OJ L 23, 27.1.2010, p. 35.
(25) Directives on: Family reunification, Blue Card, Single Permit, Researchers, Students, Qualification as a beneficiary of international protection, seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees.
(26) Council Recommendation of 9 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States, OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 1.