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Home >> Equinet Activities >> Events >> Conference: Together for an Equal Europe

Conference: Together for an Equal Europe

June 30th 2017

Celebrating Equinet’s 10th Anniversary

On 10th October 2017, Equinet and its members held a conference on collaborating together for an equal Europe to mark its 10th anniversary. This was followed by a celebratory gathering in the evening to give us the opportunity to dance to the tune of equality together.


Since 2007, Equinet has been promoting equality in Europe by supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies.

During the past decade, we have grown from a project-based set-up to become the recognised European Network of Equality Bodies, with 46 national equality bodies in 34 European countries.


The national and European context in which equality bodies have evolved has changed a lot over the past 10 years, from key legislative achievements to greater economic and social challenges. During this conference, we aimed to take stock of the progress made and the contribution of equality bodies in addressing the developments over the past decade, particularly on non-discrimination in Europe.
We were very pleased to bring together all those with whom we have worked and collaborated, to look at the past, present and especially the future, in order to explore ways forward and possible steps to enhance equality bodies’ contribution for an equal Europe.

After a warm welcome by our Chair Evelyn Collins, we are very pleased to have had such distinguished guests amongst our panel of speakers, including:

  • Keynote by Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission
  • Anna-Maja Henriksson, MP and Former Minister for Justice (2011-2015), Finland
  • Rositsa Todorova Dimitrova, Deputy Minister for Labour and Social policy, Bulgaria
  • Virginija Langbakk, Director, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)
  • Claude Moraes, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the EP Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
  • Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe [video address]
  • Michael O’Flaherty, Director, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
  • Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe, UN Human Rights Office (UN OHCHR)

Equality bodies perspectives will be represented by:

  • Evelyn Collins, Equinet Chair and Chief Executive, Equality Commission of Northern Ireland
  • Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights, Poland
  • Tena Simonovic Einwalter, Equinet Board Member and Deputy Ombudswoman, Office of the Ombudswoman, Croatia
  • Constance Rivière, Secretary General of the Defender of Rights, France

Evening Reception

The conference was followed by a celebratory get together to raise a glass to our achievements with friends and colleagues, and reflect on future objectives in a relaxed atmosphere.

Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, was present to address the participants at the reception.


The conference was held at Les Brigittines, Petite rue des Brigittines (no number), 1000 Brussels. For more information, click here to download the agenda.

Final Agenda (formatted)
Final Agenda (formatted)
Final Agenda (Word Version)
Final Agenda (Word Version)


Equinet 10th Anniversary: Conference
Equinet 10th Anniversary: Conference "Together for an Equal Europe" and Celebrations, 10 October, Brussels

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