Friday, November 20, 2009

European Voice: A guardian against discrimination stops fighting?

Why are member states are discriminating against the anti-discrimination directive.

19/11/2009 - Eurobarometer recently published a survey that once again showed that there is a serious problem of discrimination across Europe. One in six people said they had personally experienced discrimination in the past year; 58% of Europeans considered that prejudice in relation to age was widespread in their country, while 53% mentioned disability. For those who fail to be moved by statistics, consider this: in 2009 alone, we saw Roma communities being shot at in Hungary, stoned in Ireland and evicted by force in Italy; and we saw Lithuania's parliament ‘protecting' its minors by adopting a law that bans public information about homosexuality, putting homosexuality on a par with images of mutilated bodies or physical violence.

Though such episodes are disturbing, non-governmental organizations have until now felt that some progress was being made on the EU level. Fighting discrimination has been one of the few areas of social policy about which the EU could be proud: were it not for EU instruments such as the race and employment directives, there would still be no protection in most member states today. But race and employment cover only some aspects of discrimination. That is why, in July 2008, the European Commission proposed a new anti-discrimination directive that, if passed, would give all citizens basic protection in other major areas of life, such as housing, education and healthcare.


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