Creating a fairer Britain
New: The Commission's response to the GEO consultation on the EU Equal Treatment Directive is now available.
The EHRC supports the directive and although we wish to see greater clarity in some areas, we do not support any watering down of the directive. In fact, we have identified a number of areas where we think the directive could be usefully expanded (for instance by including a clause on multiple discrimination).
We believe that the UK has a positive record on many aspects of the directive and that this therefore gives the government the opportunity to take a leading positive stance and encourage its EU counterparts to do so too.
EHRC submitted a response to the original European Commission consultation on the need for this directive, and made strong representations in Brussels that this directive should cover all four grounds and not just disability as some states has proposed. We were pleased to see that once the draft directive had been published, many of our suggestions had been incorporated.
Since negotiations began on the directive under the French Presidency and now under the Czech Presidency, the EHRC has been in dialogue with the European Commission, MEPs, the GEO and other government departments, and other stakeholders to influence the progress of the directive.
EHRC also submitted amendments to the European Parliament’s Opinion on the directive (this is a non-legislative document but it has been a powerful force nonetheless). We met with the rapporteurs and other MEPs and we attended a high level meeting of all the European equality bodies in the European Parliament in Brussels prior to the Parliament’s vote on the directive as a show of support.
EHRC has submitted a full response to the Government’s consultation.
The EHRC will continue to influence discussions on Directive in the Council of Ministers through encouraging the UK government to take a positive approach to the directive. The EHRC will be working with Equinet (the Brussels-based membership body that represents equality bodies across the EU) to maintain the pressure on the Council of Ministers to come to agreement.
The EHRC will work with the Swedish and Spanish presidencies to ensure the directive remains a priority and to supply any further evidence or clarifications which may be useful to the Council in its negotiations.
We invited interested parties to feed in to our response to the Government’s consultation on the EU Article 13 Equal Treatment directive.
We have now submitted our response to the Government and this is available to read online.