EU has a mandate and a responsibility to combat discrimination

EU has a mandate and a responsibility to combat discrimination

EP Plenary session — The need for a European solidarity in saving lives in the Mediterranean, in particular in Italy

Parliament’s resolution points to concerns οn discrimination trends across EU member states and urges the Council to re-initiate talks.

Parliament reiterates that the Council must unblock the horizontal anti-discrimination directive, which has been in deadlock by the member states since 2008. MEPs have long adopted their position on the Commission’s proposal, and deplore the Council’s delays, which have been possible for fifteen years because of unanimity rules. To bypass the obstruction, the passerelle clause should be activated, they argue. The most recent progress report provides a stark image of the deadlock in the Council, where disability-related provisions, and in particular the possibility to offer member states an “inordinately long extension of the transposition period” to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled persons, lie at the core of the discussions.

Parliament stresses the need for legal protection against discrimination that would apply in an equivalent manner, across all grounds for discrimination – not only at the workplace and the labour market, as is currently the case, and deplores the continuous lack of implementation of the EU anti-discrimination framework. MEPs also point to concerning trends across the member states, many of which have also been identified in the 2022 fundamental rights report by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, and which include non-compliance with case law by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Other issues identified include insufficient reporting of discrimination, the overall lack of data on equality, and poor documentation. MEPs call on the Commission to work to overcome the deadlock, while also urging it to address the ongoing backlash against fundamental rights and the rise in discrimination across the EU.

The resolution was adopted on Wednesday by show of hands.

“It is shameful that we have first and second class citizens in our Union, where some of us are protected against discrimination, while others are not. It is unacceptable that it has taken the Council over 14 years to agree on something as fundamental as this. Parliament stands ready to adopt the directive, now it is time for the Council to do what should have been done years ago,” commented the rapporteur, Alice KUHNKE (Greens/EFA, SE).

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