Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The new EU anti-discrimination directive: Arghh!

In the ongoing procedure around the setting up of an EU Council directive on
"implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation"
the Swedish EU Council presidency has presented drafting suggestions that to me look like both, strengthening and weakening the text.

In some paragraphs, stronger formulations on what constitutes a case of anti-discriminations are proposed while in other paragraphs the independence of the member states is strengthened or certain cases are excluded from being considered as discrimination.

My "favourite" paragraph is 17h (new), which I would call the "Ireland-paragraph", especially since the Swedish presidency just proposed to include the words "and adoption":
"This Directive does not apply to matters covered by family law including marital status and adoption, and laws on reproductive rights. It is also without prejudice to the secular nature of the State, state institutions or bodies, or education. Moreover, this Directive is without prejudice to the powers of the Member States to organise their social security and health care schemes in such a way as to guarantee their sustainability."
After a short glance through these drafting proposals, I have the feeling that this directive will become a monster full of good intentions but with an infinite number of in-built misunderstandings and shortcomings that will haunt us for years as soon as it is adopted.

If I may say so: It will look like a typical legal document that went through the hands of the member states while letting too many lobbyists have their word to say.

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Bernardo said...

I do not know when this directive will be approved, but Spanish vice-president, M. Teresa Fernandez de la Vega announced last Sunday during an event in the summer school of the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) that fighting against discrimination will be a priority for Spanish presidency of Europe next year.
I hope there will be still time to enhance this directive.