Parliamentary question to the Commission: New anti-discrimination law in Macedonia

Written parliamentary question asked to the European Commission by:

European ParliamentIn its draft 2009 accession report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, (SEC(2009)1335), the Commission states that, ‘Little progress has been made in the area of anti-discrimination policy. […] A framework law on anti-discrimination remains to be adopted. Discrimination based on sex, ethnic origin, disability and sexual orientation persists. […] Neither the Constitution nor the existing legislation identifies sexual orientation as a basis of discrimination. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are not protected against direct or indirect discrimination and are stigmatised, particularly in rural areas.’ (pp. 19‑20) ‘Discrimination based on sex, ethnic origin, religion, disability and sexual orientation persists.’ (p. 54).

On 28 January 2010, the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia proposed a bill for a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, protecting citizens from discrimination in the fields of employment, access to goods and services, education, public institutions and private life.

Whilst other grounds such as gender, religion or belief and ethnicity are covered, the proposed law does not recognise sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination. However, such provisions have been included in previous drafts of the legislation seen by the Commission, and have been mentioned in a report produced by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The mention of ‘sexual orientation’ subsequently disappeared in the final draft.

  1. Bearing in mind the framework Employment Directive 2000/78/EC and the proposed Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)426), does the Commission not think that the Government’s proposal falls short of equating the acquis in the field of anti-discrimination?
  2. How is the Commission planning to respond to these developments in its 2010 accession report, and in the context of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s accession negotiations?
  3. Is the Commission aware that civil society groups have not yet been able to see an official copy of the draft law, thereby preventing an open and transparent debate about its provisions?

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