Are equality and non-discrimination made redundant in the EU?
On 2 February 2005, the European Commission presented a long-awaited strategy entitled “Working together for growth and jobs - A new start for the Lisbon strategy”. The strategy aims to revitalise the Lisbon Agenda which was based on the three pillars of economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development. ILGA-Europe is concerned that the new strategy will have detrimental effect on the EU’s social model and such principles as equality and non-discrimination might be sacrificed
in order to enhance the EU’s competitiveness and economic growth.
The Commission’s new strategy refocuses the Lisbon Agenda on growth and jobs through fewer and clearer priorities such as making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work, knowledge and innovation for growth and creating jobs.
Despite the Commission President Barroso’s reassuring statements stressing ‘social justice and opportunity for all’ and comparing economic, social and environmental areas to ‘three children’ who require equal attention and nurturing, there is a serious risk that there will be a seismic shift in the way the EU is run.
Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said: “Today’s Commission announcement is disappointing and at the same time worrying for all European organisations working in the social area, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations
. As the PES report “'A Europe of Excellence” concludes we need a more sophisticated understanding of competitiveness, which recognises the interdependence of economy, society and environment.
Last October President Barroso actively defended equality and non-discrimination principles and announced he would personally take responsibility for these issues. It is now time for President Barroso to practically demonstrate his and the EU’s firm commitment to these principles.”
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Notes to editors:
1. PES is the Party of European Socialists, more information about the party and their report on their website: Party of European Socialists
2. More information on the Commission’s strategy