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United in Equality? Citizens' Access to Effective Legal Protection and the National Equality Bodies in the Baltic Sea Region

Laura Asarite

In the EU of free movement and common citizenship the question of protection against discrimination and the assurance of equality of the people is acquiring more and more relevance. This is inevitably connected to the principle of effective judicial protection emphasised in the Treaty of Lisbon. According to the EU equal treatment legislation, Member States, although without any specifications provided by the EU, are obliged to assure the existence and function of independent organisations assisting victims of discrimination. Therefore, it is crucial to consider how the relationship between Article 19(1) TEU and the EU equal treatment legislation is reflected in different Member States and the work of national equality bodies. In this respect, an especially interesting case to examine is the Baltic Sea Region as there, because of different historical development of anti-discrimination policies, one might expect to find significant discrepancies when it comes to assurance of effective legal protection against discrimination also nowadays. Accordingly, by using a comparative approach this article aims at outlining how the principle of effective judicial protection has been embraced by Member States in respect to equality bodies in this region. It claims that the work of national equality bodies and accordingly the victims' access to effective legal protection against discrimination in the Baltic Sea Region does not reflect the historically determined division between the East and West and new and old Member States.



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