Aug 02

Network of Socio-Economic Experts in the Anti-Discrimination Field

The Network of Socio-Economic Experts in the Anti-Discrimination Field (SEN) was established by Human European Consultancy, in cooperation with ÖSB Consulting. The Network provided the European Commission with independent expertise and advice by drafting national and synthesis reports and organising good practice exchanges on discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation, religion or belief and multiple grounds.


The aim of the Network was to provide the Commission with independent expertise and advice. In particular, the two objectives were:

  • To provide the European Commission with informed analysis of national situations and policy developments with regard to discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, ethnic or racial origin, sexual orientation, religion or belief and multiple grounds; and
  • To assist in the launch and implementation of a series of exchanges of good practices on non-discrimination policies and practices, with a view to facilitating the exchange of information on non-discrimination issues and transferability of good practices between countries.


The Network consisted of national experts in each of the 27 EU Member States.

To attain the first objective, the following activities were undertaken.

The national experts prepared twice-yearly national reports for each of the EU Member States, covering a set of three to four policy themes agreed at the beginning of the contractual year. The national report themes ranged from LGBT in the labour market to older workers and discrimination and from links between public authorities at the different levels of governance in implementing diversity and anti-discrimination policies to discrimination on the ground of religion or belief.

A team of senior experts drafted the templates and guidelines and reviewed the national reports. The reports were drafted in English and in the national language and submitted to the Commission. The national reports were only for the Commission's internal use and will not be published.

Each national expert organised a one-day national workshop in their country. The objective of this workshop was to provide a cross-section of major stakeholder with the opportunity to exchange views on the national reports.

Based on the national reports, the senior team produced a synthesis report comparing all EU Member States.

At the end of each contractual year an annual meeting was organised with all national experts, senior experts and the task manager/representative(s) of the Commission. During this meeting the current year's activities were discussed and reviewed and the themes and topics for the coming year were announced and discussed.

To achieve the second objective, the following activities were organised and implemented.

Twice a year good practice exchange seminars were organised between Member States. These were dedicated to a specific theme, based on a pre-established annual work programme. The events took place in a host country agreed with the Commission. The seminars were led by a facilitator and a thematic expert who was responsible for subsequently drafting a seminar report.

Reports and events

The synthesis reports and the good practice exchange seminar reports can be found at the right hand side (related publications).

Main findings

Over the years the Network developed in terms of coherence, focus and quality. Some of the achievements included:

  • Opening up new anti-discrimination themes, in particular the work on age discrimination and the economic case which were both highlighted at the European Commission Equality Summit 2012. Also mentioned should be the work on governance links, which broke completely new ground, and the work done on religion, which is the first sustained focus on this ground at EU level (apart from, perhaps, the Religare research project).
  • The sustained engagement of a broad range of national stakeholders in the national workshops. The workshops enabled a strong verification process for the work done while also engaging stakeholders in themes of key importance for EU and Member State action on non-discrimination.
  • The quality of the engagement of Governmental Expert Group (GEG) members and other governmental representatives in the Good Practice Exchange seminars highlighted and responded to a need for exchange of both good practice and lessons learned. The seminars were recognised for their valuable contribution to the development and dissemination of good practice.
  • The growing interest in and demand for access to the work done by the SEN Network from different parts of the Commission and from different EU level stakeholders. This became even more apparent as the Commission began to strategically place presentations of the work, with some significant successes, for example the Active Ageing Conference in June 2012 and the Equality Summit in November 2012.



Establishment of a Network of Socio-Economic Experts in the Anti-Discrimination Field (2009 – 2012)

In partnership with ÖSB Consulting 

European Union Member States

Related publications

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