In many European countries, public policies are not doing enough to close the gap in equality between minorities at risk of discrimination and the majority population. In some cases, lack of information about the needs of these minorities or their position in specific areas of social life, such as education and employment, is used as an excuse not to do more to promote equal treatment. Research conducted in seven European countries as part of the Equality Data Initiative shows that even where information about ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities is collected, it is not used to shape effective equality policies.
The EU and international human rights institutions have limited powers to enforce legal obligations to collect ethnically disaggregated data. It is therefore crucial to work at member state level. The Open Society Foundations, in cooperation with the Migration Policy Group and the European Network Against Racism, is conducting four stakeholder events in Germany, Hungary, France, and Sweden, as part of the Equality Data Initiative project to revive national debate on equality data collection, promote a change in attitude among authorities and the public, and identify what can be done to improve current practices.