>Commission U-turn on anti-discrimination law
>MEPs and trade unions' persistent lobbying in favour of comrehensive EU anti-discrimination legislation has eventually born fruit as the Commission informally announced on Monday (16 June) that it would put forward a proposal aimed at outlawing all forms of discrimination beyond the workplace.
Speaking at a hearing in the Parliament's civil liberties committee, the designated Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs Jacques Barrot said Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla will present a cross-cutting directive to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation on 2 July.
"All discrimination is serious, and deserves to be fought with the same determination," Barrot said, pointing out that the directive will also address homophobia and will not be restricted to the workplace.
He urged MEPs to support the initiative, as they have repeatedly reminded Commission President José Manuel Barroso of his pledge to make anti-discrimination a priority this year.
The new commitment to covering discrimination beyond the workplace represents a U-turn for the Commission, as in April it signalled its intention to backtrack on its initial ambition to present a complex 'horizontal directive' due to resistance from conservative member states.
It had instead proposed to offer protection against discrimination only on disability grounds, sparking strong opposition from MEPs.
To become law throughout the EU, the directive would first require approval by the Council.