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Verbatim report of proceedings
Wednesday, 1 April 2009 - Brussels OJ edition

Equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (debate)

  Silvana Koch-Mehrin and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (ALDE), in writing.(DE) The legal basis used, Article 13(1) of the EC Treaty, is not appropriate considering that, in the opinion of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), the principle of subsidiarity is not being adhered to. It is not within the remit of the EU legislator to lay down the regulations in question, thereby seriously encroaching on the self-determination of the Member States.

Combating discrimination of all kinds and helping the disabled to participate in public life are important tasks. However, proposing to extend the anti-discrimination regulations to practically all areas of life is out of touch with reality. The reversal of the burden of proof laid down in the directive will mean that it is possible to open legal proceedings on the basis of accusations not backed up by sufficient evidence. Those affected would then have to pay compensation even if they have not actually committed any acts of discrimination but are unable to prove their innocence. Defined in this sweeping way, this reversal of the burden of proof is therefore questionable from the point of view of its compatibility with acting as a state under the rule of law. It will create uncertainty and facilitate abuse. That cannot be the raison d’être of a progressive anti-discrimination policy.

A further consideration must be that the Commission is currently pursuing infringement proceedings against numerous Member States in relation to inadequate transposal of the existing European directives on anti-discrimination policy. There is as yet, however, no overview of those regulations that have been transposed so as to make it possible to determine the need for new regulations that has been claimed. Germany, in particular, has already gone far beyond previous stipulations from Brussels. We therefore voted against this report.

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