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

Germany celebrates 10 years of anti-discrimination legislation...

...and keeps ignoring the rest of the European Union?

Commissioner Vera Jourova and the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, have accepted an invitation from the German Equality Body to celebrate the success of 10 years of anti-discrimination legislation (Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetzes, AGG), covering the grounds of race and ethnic origin, gender, religion and belief, disability, age as well as sexual identity (interpreted to cover sexual orientation and gender identity).

An event in Berlin today aims to highlight the success of the legislation in protecting people and discuss what more can be done to step up the fight against discrimination.

On this celebratory occasion, ILGA-Europe and LSVD would like to remind the German government that, while they are celebrating a decade of progress in their own country, they have now been blocking an EU-wide protection against discrimination for almost the same amount of time.

In 2008, the European Commission presented a draft for a new, comprehensive Equal Treatment Directive which would extend the level of protection against discrimination beyond employment, and protect people across the EU from discrimination based on sex, ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, and sexual orientation. The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) ensures these protections in labour law and civil law in Germany. But such comprehensive protections do not exist everywhere in the European Union.

The German government has been blocking the negotiation on this EU directive within the Council of the EU from the beginning and has so far refused to hold a substantive debate on this topic, which 27 out of 28 EU member states are willing to have. Germany insists on taking a position that is, in light of its existing domestic laws, rationally untenable. If you celebrate your own success, let others join the party as well and finally engage in meaningful and success-oriented negotiations on the EU Equal Treatment Directive to finally ensure EU-wide protection against discrimination!