baltics / europe / lithuania

Lithuania drops opposition to EU anti-discrimination directive

(Source: 15min.lt, 8 Oct 2013)

The Government of Lithuania has accepted a proposal to change its mind and not to object to the European Union’s anti-discrimination directive that Lithuania has opposed for the last three years.

The proposal by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor was backed at a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

“Based on the ministry’s proposal, the Cabinet was asked to specify its position on the draft anti-discrimination directive. The directive has been put forward since 2008. The government initially backed it but then changed its mind after the ruling majority changed. Now, during the presidency, we proposed to the government that this position be neutral and we could say that we don’t object, Lithuania doesn’t object to the text of that directive. The Cabinet backed this proposal,” Eglė Čaplinskienė, head of the Equal Opportunities Division of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, told BNS, adding that such a position would be the most beneficial during the EU presidency.

“In essence, the position is not to object. It’s a neutral position – neither against, nor in favor. It’s rather handy during the presidency,” she said.

Although initially Lithuania backed the directive five years ago, the country changed its mind in 2010 and so far has been officially against the document on the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination based on, among other grounds, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation.

In 2008, the European Commission proposed the anti-discrimination directive to complete the EU’s existing legal framework in the areas of social security, healthcare, education, goods and services, and housing.

Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation is currently banned in employment, occupation and vocational training only, and the proposed directive is aimed at implementing the principle of equal treatment outside the labor market.

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