EWL News

The EP supports the new equality legislation blocked by member states since 2009

[Social Platform, Brussels, 26 October 2011] On October 25 the EP voted on the Kósa report on Mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. The MEPs voted according to Social Platform’s call against Amendment 1 which endangered the right to equality for all in the EU because it contradicted paragraph 53 supporting the directive for legal protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

After a close-run vote (362 votes in favor, 273 votes against, with 23 abstentions) MEPs called on states to reach an agreement on the Council draft anti-discrimination directive. The full paragraph states:
"Notes that the Member States should, as a priority, agree and adopt as soon as possible the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426); calls on the Commission to continue to support the overcoming of technical difficulties within the Council in order to ensure that a swift agreement is reached; notes that anti-discrimination policy plays a key role in promoting social inclusion and employment for people with disabilities;"

Here is our message to the MEPs:

  • Social Platform and the equality networks (EDF, AGE Platform Europe, ENAR, EWL, YFJ and ILGA-Europe) are against this amendment. Although we support further and stronger legislation on the ground of disability that should cover the specific needs of people with disabilities, we disapprove pf the approach taken by amendment 1 which takes out the call for legal protection for other groups from this report. Social Platform and the equality networks have full commitment with non discrimination legislation for all grounds and paragraph 53 should stay in this report as proposed in the motion for a resolution.
  • There is no equality without the same legal protection for all. Article 19 of the Lisbon Treaty covers the six grounds of discrimination; sex, racial and ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. For the moment, religion and belief, disability, age and sexual orientation are protected only in relation to employment, sex-based discrimination is prohibited in relation to access to goods and services and employment and discrimination based on race and ethnic origin is prohibited in relation to access to goods and services, employment, training, education and social protection/advantages.
  • The people are calling for it. The EP wants it (the report of April, 2009). Trade unions want it. Equality bodies want it. Social NGOs want it and the Commission also wants it.
  • Legislation is the only way to achieve a fair society for all. The right to be free from discrimination is indisputable, and you need legislation with equal protection of all grounds in order to claim your rights.
  • It’s about time. It has been over a decade since the Race Equality and Employment Directives were passed. Having an expanded legislation would finally start to correct the imbalance that EU society has long struggled with.

See also press release from the Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights

The EWL is a member of the Social Platform. The European Disability Forum (EDF) is a member of the EWL and of the Social Platform.

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