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Non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all - A framework strategy

Non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all - A framework strategy
{SEC(2005) 689} COM(2005) 224 final

The European Union is committed to the promotion of fundamental rights, non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all.
For many years, the EU has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle sex discrimination and to promote equality between women and men. More recently, it has taken action to protect people against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.
These efforts have produced results, including the development of some of the most comprehensive and far-reaching anti-discrimination legislation to be found anywhere in the world. However, further action is required in order to ensure the full and effective implementation and enforcement of this legal framework. Personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or disability continue to prevent some people from realising their full potential. Discrimination blights individual lives. It is also bad for the economy and for society as a whole. Moreover, it undermines confidence in and support for the fundamental European values of equality and the rule of law.
The effective removal of obstacles to employment, training and other opportunities is vital. Indeed, it will be difficult for the EU to achieve the ambitious targets that it has set itself for economic and employment growth if some people are excluded from jobs and higher achievement on the basis of gender, disability, race, age or other grounds.
The need to combat discrimination and to integrate disadvantaged groups into the labour market is reinforced by the demographic challenges facing the EU, which will see its working age population decline by over 20 million during the next 25 years.

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