Non-Discrimination in Europe
European Parliament gives a YES vote to Non-Discrimination in Europe
The European Parliament today voted to support breakthrough EU legislation on anti-Discrimination and EU actions to combat discrimination
Brussels, 5 October 2000. The European Disability Forum welcomes the near unanimous support of the European Parliament today for this breakthrough anti-Discrimination legislation which for the first time will lead to concrete non-discrimination legislation for disabled people in the European Union. This Parliamentary act demonstrates a commitment by the democratic voice of the European Union to new and progressive initiatives to combat discrimination in Europe.
This Directive, when finally adopted by the Member States on 17 October, will provide important protection against discrimination in the field of employment and training for 37 million disabled citizens in the European Union. The EDF welcomes the European Parliament support for explicit reference in the Directive to both direct, indirect discrimination, reasonable accommodation/adaptation measures requiring employers to adapt the working environment for disabled people and also positive action measures to promote access for disabled people to the labour market.
It is also very important that the Parliament has supported enforcement measures to guarantee the implementation of the terms of the Directive and that the role of representative non-governmental organisations in the consultation and implementation of the Directive has been recognised. "The European Disability Forum have been battling for concrete non-discrimination legislation from the EU to protect disabled people in European for many years. This Non-Discrimination Directive is a major first step for us" declared Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum. "The non-discrimination clause secured by the Amsterdam Treaty provided this opportunity and the EDF is delighted that the democratic representatives of the EU institutions have supported this non-discrimination legislation so whole-heartedly. The European disability movement now call on the Member States to endorse the position of the European Parliament."
Richard Howitt MEP, President of the All-Party Disablement Group of the European Parliament welcomed this directive pointing out that the agreement on the principle of reasonable accommodation could mean employers need simply to "lower a light switch by a metre but, for a wheelchair user it makes the difference between a job or no job".The EDF also welcomes the support of the European Parliament for the accompanying measure of a Non-Discrimination Action programme which will prepare the ground for further legislative measures at Community level to address all forms of discrimination within all areas of Community competence. EDF in particular welcomes the recognition by the European Parliament of the need to guarantee up to 90% core funding for European NGOs. Also the request of the European Parliament for the recognition of core funding to support representation of the diverse and heterogeneous nature of the target groups concerned. This is vital to ensure the full and direct representation of deaf people, blind and visually impaired, people with intellectual impairment among other groups will continue to be heard through their representative European NGOs in Brussels.
For more information contact: