Draft EU Horizontal non-discrimination Directive: Ten years on and sadly nothing to show for it

It is now 10 year since the European Commission proposed an important anti-discrimination law to ban discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in all areas of social life. This directive aimed to propose a EU-wide minimum level of protection against discrimination through a horizontal approach, complementing the current EU Employment Equality Directive which forbids discrimination in employment. Unfortunately the proposed directive has been blocked by the Council of the European Union since 2008.

To mark this ‘failed’ anniversary, AGE together with 5 other European non discrimination NGOs released a joint statement to express their concern about this lack of action in the current context of growing populism. We jointly call for the adoption of a strong legal framework to protect all people in the European Union against discrimination in all areas of life.

Read our joint statement here


Our joint statement follows the publication of an article in Euractiv by Birgit Van Hout, the regional representative for Europe of the UN Human Rights Office, and Tena Šimonović Einwalter, the chair of the executive board of Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies. This article denounces an unfair situation which deprives 508 million people in Europe of effective protection against discrimination because of reportedly two EU member states which continue to oppose the directive, and despite the large support in favour of this directive.

The horizontal non-discrimnation directive was also the topic of Town Hall Discussion on advancing anti-discrimination and equality law in Europe, organised in Brussels on 31 May by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner – Europe Regional Office (UNOHCHR Europe) and Equinet. Read more on this event here

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