After reviewing the first assessment from the European Commission, ILGA-Europe wrote the following letter to Commission President Barroso, and Commissioners Reding, Malmström, Füle, Andor, and Vassiliou:
“We understand from European Commission consultation documents on the EU 2020 strategy that there are currently no references to or objectives related to fundamental rights and non-discrimination. In our contribution to the consultation on the future ‘EU 2020’ strategy, we clearly expressed our disappointment at “the failure to meet the equality and social dimensions that were laid out in the Renewed Social Agenda of 2008” and called for equality to be a key driver of the EU 2020 strategy.
This contribution was not reflected at all in the European Commission’s first assessment of the public consultation on the EU 2020 strategy, which states that “stakeholders with a social vocation broadly support the Commission’s proposed priorities”.
ILGA-Europe firmly believes that the Europe of 2020 cannot afford to be a society where discrimination and inequalities continue to be barriers to labour-market participation and to business performance. We also strongly believe that the EU cannot afford to overlook discrimination and inequality, which severely hinder social cohesion and curtail effective access to fundamental rights.
An EU strategy without a non-discrimination and fundamental rights pillar risks reinforcing the vulnerability and exclusion of a wide portion of the European population as well as existing inequalities in the EU, instead of fostering inclusive growth and social cohesion.
Furthermore, ILGA-Europe questions the lack of reference to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and to the implementation of equality and non-discrimination mainstreaming on Article 19 grounds in the EU 2020 strategy. Article 10 of the Treaty of Lisbon clearly states that, in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the “the Union shall aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation”.
ILGA-Europe considers that the failure of the European Commission to meet the requirements of equality mainstreaming in the 2020 strategy will seriously weaken this important provision of the new treaty from the outset.
As the member of the European Commission responsible for fundamental rights and equal opportunities, we urge you to ensure that the Commission takes on clear commitments to fully implement the EU’s obligations with respect to fundamental rights, non-discrimination and equality in the Europe 2020 strategy.”
Juris LavrikovsLetters to the EurActiv editor