The essay aims to investigate the birth and evolution of the principle of gender equality in the European Union and to outline possible avenues for reflection on the impact of some recent developments in EU case law on the direct horizontal effects of Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the multi-level protection of rights.The investigation starts from the specific prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex that along with another ground (nationality) has been the first nucleus of European anti-discrimination law.Starting from the protection of equal pay for men and women (Article 157 TFEU), the Court has gradually extended the conceptual scope of application of anti-discrimination law from pay to several other areas, inaugurating a protection pushed beyond the purely economic aspects to recognize direct effectiveness, even horizontal, to equal pay.We are thus witnessing a change in the paradigm of the function of gender-based anti-discrimination protection originally imagined in a functionalist key with respect to the completion of the single market, which has progressively freed itself from this too narrow scope to undertake an articulated path during which the justifying reasons underlying anti-discrimination law lose their purely economic value and the prohibition on the basis of gender becomes a specific expression of the more general principle of equality. A substantial part of the work concerns the analysis of the first and second generation of secondary legislation and the related jurisprudence of the CJEU up to the most recent pronouncements on the direct horizontal effects of Article 21 CDFUE that open up powerful questions both in terms of the general theory of European sources (one for all the relations between general principles and secondary legislation), the scope of the principle of primauté of Community law and its direct effectiveness (vertical and horizontal), as well as the structure of EU and Member States' competences. It is also significant that these issues have come to the fore especially in the field of equality and non-discrimination, principles whose transversal nature calls into question the maintenance of many of the cornerstones of the relationship between internal systems and EU law.
|Number of pages||40|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|