10 years after Equal Treatment Directive was proposed, NGOs call on the EU Council to finally adopt it.

2 July 2018

A group of equality and non-discrimination NGOS, including the European Disability Forum, ILGA Europe, the European Women’s Lobby, AGE Platform, Transgender Europe and IGLYO called on the EU Council to end a 10-year freeze on a directive that would ban discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in all areas of social life.

The Equal Treatment Directive was proposed on the 2 July 2008 by the European Commission and voted favourably by the EU Parliament in 2019. Yet, for the past 10 years, the EU Member States have blocked progress on the proposal. In a joint statement on the 10th anniversary of the proposal, the European Disability Forum and other NGOs note that, despite the adoption of more progressive equality laws in several Member States, significant gaps remain. We urge the European Commission and EU Member States to resume progress in this Directive and come up with roadmap to close the legislative gaps.

Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum stated “progress on this Directive would send a clear message that EU Member States do care about the millions of Europeans that are regularly discriminated against. This is especially important as the European elections are fast approaching.”

The joint statement by NGOs comes after a opinion piece published last week in Euractiv by Birgit Van Hout, the regional representative for Europe of the UN Human Rights Office and Tena Šimonović Einwalter the chair of the executive board of Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies where they stated that despite the fact that while “overwhelming majority of EU member states favours adopting the directive”, it is blocked as “reportedly, two EU member states continue to oppose the directive”. They concluded that “by withholding support for the Equal Treatment Directive, we are depriving 508 million people in Europe of effective protection against discrimination.”

The Commission proposal on the Equal Treatment Directive was partly a response to the campaign that EDF organized in 2007: the "1 million 4 disability" campaign. On the 4th Ocober 2007, the campaign delivered a petition demanding to ban discrimination in the European Union to the EU Institutions. The petition had collected more than 1.300.000 signatures.

Read the full Joint NGO Statement on the 10th Anniversary of the Horizontal Directive.

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