European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

EU equal treatment law: the time is now!

Joint statement: six months ago, organisations representing millions of EU citizens at risk of discrimination called on EU Member States to show clear commitment on the proposed Horizontal Directive on equal treatment. In the meantime, some progress has been made and the Directive should now be adopted without further delay. Equality for All wants to debunk the lingering excuses that are still used by some Member States and remind them that there are still millions of people in the EU suffering daily from preventable discrimination.

In 2008, the Commission proposed to complete EU legislation on equal treatment. Seven years later, the proposed Directive is still stuck in negotiations, due to strong resistance from a few Member States. This is unacceptable, as fundamental rights are not up for negotiation or cherry picking. We all deserve equality, and the Directive is key to making that happen.

In the annexed paper, we debunk the main excuses that we still hear from Member States:

  • The ‘subsidiarity’ argument completely overlooks the fact that similar legislation covering racial and gender equality already exists.
  • The ‘burden on Member States’ argument is totally invalid, particularly now that the scope and implementation period of the directive have been amended in the latest text.
  • The ‘too costly’ argument is incompatible with existing human rights obligations and ignores the numerous economic gains that will be made.

The Directive is needed to tackle the daily discrimination experienced by many people across the EU:

  • Discrimination and bullying at school, leading to stigmatisation, social exclusion, dropping out of school and even to elevated suicide rates.
  • Denying same-sex couples basic rights, such as the right to visit his or her partner in the hospital or to sleep together when on holiday in a hotel.
  • People with disabilities not being given essential information in accessible formats when treated in hospital.
  • The refusal of insurance policies to cover elderly people and people with disabilities, including even children with disabilities.

Equality for All again urges all EU governments to show unanimous leadership and adopt a strong anti-discrimination Directive protecting all people in their daily lives as soon as possible! 


The Equality for All coalition is comprised of:

AGE Platform Europe

European Disability Forum (EDF)

European Network Against Racism (ENAR)  

European Youth Forum

ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Social Platform

European Women’s Lobby

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO)

European Network on Religion and Belief (ENORB)

Eurochild.