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The Negotiation of the European Community Directive on Racial Discrimination

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image of European Journal of Migration and Law

The Starting Line Group, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, has pressed for the adoption of European legal measures against all forms of racial discrimination since the early nineties. Isabelle Chopin and Jan Niessen chronicled the activities of the Starting Line Group in the European Journal of Migration and Law (EJML 1-1999, EJML 2-2000 and EJML 3-2001). In June 2000, the Council of Ministers adopted the Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial and ethnic origin. The adoption of this European legal measure marks the end of the Starting Line campaign and the Starting Line Group has discontinued its activities. The incorporation of the Directive in the laws of the member States and the Accession States is the beginning of the design or reinforcement of national legislation against racial and ethnic discrimination. The following article is on the final stages of the process leading to the adoption of a legal anti-discrimination measure, namely the negotiations among Member States on the Commission's proposal for a Directive. NGO's hardly played a role in those negotiations and were certainly not sitting around the negotiation table. Therefore this article is not written from an NGO perspective but from the perspective of an official of the European Commission participating in the negotiations. His article provides useful information on how the final text of the Directive came about.


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