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Europe: Anti-discrimination bill abandoned

Wed 23 Apr 2008 In: International News View at Wayback

The European Commission has abandoned its plans to protect gays and lesbians against discrimination. An anti-discrimination bill against all forms of discrimination on the grounds laid out in Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty had been announced as part of the commission's work programme for 2008. However, the European executive is now focussing solely on disability protection, fearing that more conservative member states will endanger the unanimity needed by member states. This week the commission confirmed to the BBC what European gay equality campaigners had feared: "The commission would still prefer to have a 'horizontal' directive that covers all the discrimination grounds in all the areas that are not covered yet," said Jan Jarab of the commission's employment department. "Having said that, we need to be realistic, and we have signals from some member states that they would not support such a horizontal directive and this, of course, is a problem because we need unanimity in council to get the proposal through. He then said that this "means a directive that will be specific to disability, which of course is a discrimination ground that we can justify, referring to the new international convention on disabilities." For discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, age and religion, recommendations will be produced, rather than a directive. Gay equality campaigners are calling the decision "a huge step back". Juris Lavrikous of the International Lesbian and Gay Association – Europe told the EUobserver: "We're extremely disappointed, as we've been working on this within our network for literally years, and we don't understand why the commission is afraid of taking on member states where such a move isn't popular." More on this story is on the link below.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 23rd April 2008 - 10:26am

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