By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, April 23, 2008 ( – The BBC reports that an initiative to attempt to include sexual orientation into comprehensive anti-discrimination law for all member states of the European Commission, the ruling body of the European Union, has been shelved.

A blanket anti-discrimination bill that covered all forms of discrimination on the grounds laid out in Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty was part of the commission’s work programme for 2008.

Jan Jarab of the Employment Department of the Commission told the BBC’s The Record: Europe that “signals” from some member states, including Germany, indicated that there would not be the required unanimous consent on a blanket anti-discrimination law that would include “sexual orientation”.

“So at present we are envisaging a bit of a compromise which means a directive that will be specific to disability, which of course is a discrimination ground that we can justify, referring to the new international convention on disabilities.” Given the opposition, Jarab said the Commission will be pressing for a recommendation, instead of a directive.

Germany is said to be opposed not on moral grounds, but because of opposition from business groups who warned of costs for employers and service providers.

The EU Observer reports that the Czech Republic is known to be opposed to a “horizontal” comprehensive anti-discrimination law, while Sweden, Finland, Spain and the UK are strongly in favour. Conservative MEPs are strongly opposed, while Liberals in the parliament, the Socialists, the Greens, as well as the far left are in favour.
  In February this year, the European Union’s commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, Vladimir Spidla, initiated legal proceedings against Germany and 11 other member states for failing to implement the EU’s directives. A “letter of formal notice” was sent to Germany and “complementary letters of formal notice” to Latvia and Lithuania. Spidla’s letter complained that Germany’s same-sex civil union registration does not sufficiently match the rights granted couples in natural marriages.

In addition, the commissioner singled out Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Czech Republic in a memo that set out in detail the transgressions of each country on “discrimination” laws and warned that a “reasoned opinion or letter of formal notice” would be sent to each.

For the European Union Nothing but Full Marriage Rights for Homosexuals Will Suffice