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Thursday, 18 May 2000 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Equal treatment (continuation)

  Turco (TDI).(IT) Mr President, first of all, we would like to thank the rapporteur for improving upon the Commission’s proposal, but we also feel that particular thanks should go to Commissioner Diamantopoulou for grasping the significance of the inclusion of Article 13 in the Treaties and her skill in converting an abstract norm into a package of directives.

With each passing day, Europe is becoming a continent which, as the United Nations’ reports on the European population trend illustrate, is host to citizens of third States but which, above all, needs their contribution, their culture, their potential and their initiatives. In a context such as this, the Union must reaffirm the fundamental principles of democracy and ensure that all citizens and residents have the same rights and the same duties.

Having said that, we are sceptical about three points in the report and the directive: we are completely against the principle of the reversal of the burden of proof, which is contrary to fundamental legal principles. We do not believe that the end justifies the means but that the means prefigure the end.

Moreover, we do not support the creation of independent bodies in the Member States, which would be responsible for monitoring racial and ethnic discrimination. This is because, in general terms, we do not have confidence in institutions which, in violation of the democratic principle of the separation of powers, interfere with other institutions, with the result that they either upset the balance between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities or they find themselves without a specific function because everything is already being done by other institutions.

Finally, we do not agree with the references to positive discrimination. We are opposed to positive discrimination in general when it is State-imposed, for we feel that merit should take precedence over the quota policy which, when all is said and done, discriminates between individuals who want to fight that very discrimination.

With these reservations, the Members of the Bonino List will support the report and the directive, in the hope that the European Parliament and the Commission will reflect upon the points we have raised and make the appropriate amendments.

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