European & International News

MEPs and civil society call urgent action to unblock the Anti-Discrimination Directive

[Brussels, 21 March 2012] Work on the EU Anti-Discrimination Directive that has been blocked by the member states since 2008 must start again, say MEPs, civil society and experts.

European Parliament hearing, organised by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs this week, revisited the current state of EU legislation on equal treatment, equality and non-discrimination before and after the Lisbon Treaty and identified its scope and limitations across grounds of discrimination and fields of application.

In order to stress the need to adopt the Directive without delay, the hearing also addressed concrete obstacles to the adoption of the Directive, including costs.

The proposed Directive would ban discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation in areas including education, housing, and access to goods and services. So far, EU law only protects against discrimination on these grounds in employment and occupation, but not in other areas.

While sex-based discrimination is partly covered by other EU legislation, multiple discrimination is still not recognised in EU law. Adoption of the Directive would make it easier to combat discrimination against the many women who also belong to discriminated groups.

The Directive was proposed by the European Commission in 2008 and approved by the European Parliament in 2009. Since 2008, the Council of the European Union (representing the 27 governments) which is responsible for its adoption, has never formally examined the text.

You can watch the hearing here.

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