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What is EQUAL?

EQUAL is part of the European Union's strategy for more and better jobs and for ensuring that no one is denied access to them. Funded by the Euopean Social Fund, EQUAL tests new ways of tackling discrimination and inequality experienced by those in work and those looking for a job. These new ideas could change future policy and practice in employment and training.

How it works?

EQUAL brings together the key players in a geographical area or sector. The different worlds of public administration, non-governmental organisations, social partners and the business sector (in particular SMEs) work in partnership, sharing their different types of expertise and experience. These Development Partnerships agree a strategy within which they will try out new ways of dealing with problems of discrimination and inequality which they have already identified. Central to the work of each Development Partnership is its links with at least one partnership from another country and its involvement in a network of others dealing with the same theme across Europe. Ideas are being tested with a view to using these results to influence the design of future policy and practice.

- the Guidelines for the Community Initiative EQUAL (Communication from the Commission to the member states)
- the Guidelines for the Community Initiative EQUAL (Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European parlimanent etc.)

Key principles

The EQUAL Programme is a testing ground for developing and disseminating new ways of delivering employment policies to combat discrimination and inequality experienced by those seeking access to the labour market and those already within it. Besides the thematic approach EQUAL incorporates six further key principles:

Partnership: to bring together key actors (local and regional authorities, training bodies, public employment services, NGOs, enterprises, social partners) in Development Partnerships (DPs) on a geographical or sectoral level to tackle discrimination and inequality.

  • Action 1: Setting up DPs and transnational co-operation;
  • Action 2: Implementing the work programmes of the DPs;
  • Action 3: Thematic networking, dissemination of good practice and making an impact on national policy.
EQUAL Guide for Development Partnerships

Innovation: to explore and test innovative approaches in formulating, delivering and implementing employment and training policies.

Empowerment: to strengthen capacity building by making all relevant actors, including beneficiaries, work together on an equal footing.

Transnationality: to render it possible for individual DPs and national authorities to learn from each other and co-operate productively across borders.

EQUAL Guide on transnational co-operation (2004-2008)

Mainstreaming: to develop and test new ways of integrating best practices into employment and social inclusion policies.

Making Change Possible - A Practical Guide to Mainstreaming under EQUAL

Equal opportunities: to promote Equal Opportunities as a cross-cutting feature of the programme.

EQUAL guide on Gender mainstreaming

Updated: 5.4.2007 | Author: Equalcr

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