Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Council : Is Discrimination an Eu or National Matter?

Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Council : Is Discrimination an Eu or National Matter?

Article excerpt

Aapublic policy debate at the Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, on 2 October in Luxemburg, has revealed that there is still a long way to go before agreement can be reached on the proposed directive on equal treatment between persons.

The underlying objective - equal treatment for every EU citizen - enjoys support across the board. However, some member states believe that this area of anti-discrimination and equal treatment should not be covered by EU legislation.

The proposal (11531/08), part of the European Commission's renewed social agenda, wants to extend the prohibition of discrimination laid down in Directive 2000/78/EC to the areas of social protection, health care, education and access to goods, services and housing (see Europolitics 3607). Across the EU, there is no consistency in rights and obligations, neither for discrimination victims, nor for providers of goods and services.

Czech Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Petr Necas, was opposed to the proposed directive, arguing that "we should refrain from more EU legislation in this area. Equal treatment is something the member states themselves have to guarantee". The Czech Republic will be President of the EU as of January 2009.

According to Minister for Social Affairs Ursula von der Leyen, Germany also has issues with the directive. Their main argument was the doubt about its legal certainty: "Can we provide this?". This opinion was shared by other member states, including the United Kingdom and Luxembourg. …

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