EU adopts new anti-racism legislation

Social Affairs Ministers agreed on proposals for new anti-racism legislation.

Social Affairs Ministers agreed on proposals for new anti-racism legislation, in spite of serious objections of Europe's employers' federations. The new directive prohibits racial discrimination in the areas of employment, education, social security, healthcare and access to goods and services and ensures that victims of discrimination will have rights of redress in all Member States. European business federation UNICE objected to the legislation because it shifts the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused and therefore would result in huge additional costs for companies.

The proposed legislation is part of an anti-discrimination package, which includes two directives and one action programme. The Commission adopted this anti-discrimination package on 25 November 1999.

Employment and Social Policy Commissioner Diamantopoulou welcomed the speedy adoption of the proposal and said "This agreement, only a year after the Amsterdam Treaty came into force, is a clear sign of the commitment of the Community institutions to people's fundamental rights".

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