Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 01/07/2008

Commission acts on gender equality legislation

The Commission has sent reasoned opinions on the 26th of June to the Czech Republic, Greece and Poland for non-transposition of EU rules prohibiting discrimination in the access to and supply of goods and services (Directive 2004/113/EC). Member States have two months to respond. If they fail to reply or if the response is unsatisfactory, the Commission can decide to bring the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

 

Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Equal Opportunities, said: "This Directive is crucial to tackling discrimination on the basis of gender, one of the goals of the European Union. It was agreed unanimously by the Member States and adopted in 2004, but EU directives cannot reach their full potential if they are not fully and correctly transposed into national laws."

The EU rules ban sex discrimination outside the workplace and prohibit direct and indirect discrimination based on sex, as well as sexual harassment. They apply to goods and services offered to the public, outside the area of private and family life. They do not apply to the content of media and advertising or to education, matters of employment and occupation. Examples of areas where the directive does apply are transport, housing, banking and insurance.

The Czech Republic, Greece and Poland have informed the Commission that they are currently in the process of preparing the necessary measures to fully transpose the Directive but have not communicated any specific measure. Consequently, the Commission decided to send them reasoned opinions for non-transposition of the Directive. They have two months to respond. If they fail to reply or if the response is unsatisfactory, the Commission can decide to bring the case to the ECJ.

The deadline to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive expired in 21 December 2007. Until now, the Commission has opened twelve procedures for non-communication of the national measures to transpose the Directive. Letters of formal notice were sent to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and United Kingdom.

All Member States have replied to the letters of formal notice and the Commission is finalising its analysis of the response and deciding on the follow-up. Other decisions will follow in the coming months.

In the meantime, after receiving the letter of formal notice, three Member States have approved transposition measures (Portugal, France and Romania).

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