ILGA-Europe welcomes renewed EU commitment to equality
ILGA-Europe welcomes the EU’s renewed commitment to equality and looks forward to concrete proposals in the new year.
At last week’s “Equality in a Future Europe” conference, Vladimir Spidla, newly appointed EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, announced the Commission’s plans to publish a Communication that defines the new EU framework for equality in early 2005. He also stated that the Commission will launch a feasibility study to examine possible initiatives to complement the EU legal framework for tackling discrimination, with the objective of levelling-up the protection offered to all different grounds of discrimination. The Commissioner furthermore emphasised the importance of an active equality promotion and mainstreaming.
In defining a future EU strategy on combating discrimination and promoting equality, ILGA-Europe calls on the EU to develop a comprehensive approach, that is both specific and horizontal. This was one of the main recommendations that came out of the EU Pre-conference on “Mainstreaming Policies on Sexual Orientation in Europe”. The long-term goal must be to overcome the existing equality hierarchy, to formulate specific policies and complement these with a structured equality mainstreaming across all policy areas, including asylum and migration, freedom of movement and the EU’s relations with third countries.
ILGA-Europe expresses its gratitude to the Dutch government’s commitment to the rights of LGBT people. During the pre-conference, Dutch Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport – Mr. Roel Bekker – announced the Dutch government’s plan to provide € 15,000 towards the follow-up conference on sexual orientation during the UK Presidency in 2005. The Dutch government also announced its support towards a joint ILGA-Europe and COC internet project on LGBT issues through a grant of € 35,000.
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