European Parliament repeats call for EU-wide anti-discrimination Directive

Twice this week, the European Parliament repeated it wants to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation across the EU. The Parliament formally called on EU countries to find an agreement on the draft legislation, proposed over three years ago.

European Parliament logoThe draft horizontal anti-discrimination Directive would forbid discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in access to goods and services, education, and access to social benefits. It still requires approval from all 27 EU Member States. Germany and others have refused any dialogue on the draft law, despite examining the proposals since July 2008.

On Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it “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”. The text further “calls on the [European] Commission to continue to support the overcoming of technical difficulties [between Member States] in order to ensure that a swift agreement is reached”.

And in today’s resolution, MEPs also formally called “on Member States to take the necessary steps to swiftly conclude agreement and adopt the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment”, and pointed it would help Europe achieve employment and stability targets for 2020.

Raul Romeva i Rueda MEP, Rapporteur for the Directive and Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, welcomed the vote: “These two votes show the European Parliament remains firmly committed to non-discrimination. We fought long and hard for this proposal, and we will outlast retrograde governments that use fallacious arguments to delay equality. It’s in Europe’s DNA to protect minorities, and we will eventually get there.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup and responsible for the text on behalf of the ALDE group, also commented: “Like the eurozone crisis, fundamental rights in the EU are weakened by huge national deficits and little enforcement of European rules. Just as we need stronger governance and sanctions for our economy,  we need stronger governance and sanctions for fundamental rights. Member States must defend equality as urgently as the stability of the euro: both are absolutely vital.”