70 ISABELA DELIA POPA, VALENTINA LIDIA LUPU
Another important principle established by the Treaty of Amsterdam was the
principle of non-discrimination, provided by art. 13. This text of law is of crucial
importance, since it covers discrimination beyond the workforce and includes
eight specific grounds on which discrimination is prohibited: gender, race or ethnic
origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
The next important moment in the development of EU gender equality
legislation was the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
Union14, which was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the
European Parliament, Council and Commission. The principle of gender equality
was established in: (i) art. 21 – it prohibits discrimination on any grounds,
including gender; (ii) art. 23 – it recognises the right to gender equality in all areas
and the necessity of positive action for its promotion; (iii) art. 33 - it contains the
right to reconciliation of professional and family life.
In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon15 confirmed once again the importance of gender
equality in the European Union. Equality between men and women is a
fundamental right and a common principle of the European Union, enshrined in
art. 2 and art. 3 para. (3) of the Treaty on European Union16 and in art. 8 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union17. Both Treaties - the Treaty on
European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - are
important for the further development of EU gender equality legislation, as these
serve as basis for the adoption of future legislation and other EU gender equality
14 The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2010 O.J. C 83/02 [hereinafter
Charter of Rights].
15 Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the
European Community, OJ C 306, 17/12/2007 [hereinafter Treaty of Lisbon]. Retrieved from
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12007L%2FTXT [30 December
2016]. The Charter of Rights became a binding catalogue of EU fundamental rights since the entry into
force of the Treaty of Lisbon.
16 Treaty on European Union (consolidated version), OJ C 326, 26/10/2012 [hereinafter Treaty on
European Union]. Retrieved from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/e n/TXT/?uri=CELEX%
3A12012M%2FTXT [30 December 2016]. Art. 2 of the Treaty on European Union provides that “the
Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and
respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to
the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality
between women and men prevail”. Also, pursuant to art. 3 para. (3) of the Treaty on European Union, one
of the aims of the EU is to “combat social exclusion and discrimination, and (…) promote social justice and
protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the
17 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (consolidated version), OJ C 326, 26/10/2012
[hereinafter Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union]. Retrieved from http://eur-
lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012E%2FTXT [30 December 2016].
According to the provisions of art. 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, “in all its
activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women”.