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Keep pressure up to ban age discrimination in access to goods and services - Liz Lynne.

November 18, 2009 7:00 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne has called for the EU Committee of the Regions to keep pressing for a strong text in the proposed directive to ban age discrimination in access to goods and services.

Addressing a round table discussion on ageing hosted by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels today, Wednesday Nov 18, Liz Lynne warned that resistance to such a proposal was still widespread among Member States.

The West Midlands MEP was in part responsible for age being kept in the text of the 2000 Employment Directive and has been a key figure since in lobbying to extend anti-discrimination legislation beyond the workplace. She was the author of a key Parliament report on this issue last year.

She said: "Discrimination against older people is rife in our society, whether in access to financial products, in the built environment or in healthcare. One of my priorities is to continue to push for the adoption of new legislation to stop discrimination in access to goods and services.

"For years we were promised action and then nothing. Today we can say that we are on the brink of achieving that legislation.

"It has always seemed crazy to me that we should only legislate in the Employment field, as being able to get to that employment is equally important.

"I was rapporteur for the own initiative report on the implementation of the employment directive last year. Adopting this report meant we achieved a majority in the Parliament in favour of a new directive to outlaw age discrimination in access to goods and services.

"Negotiations are currently going ahead in the Council of Ministers but many Member States are reluctant to sign up to a strong directive. I would urge you to include this proposed directive in your report and do all you can to keep up the pressure for a strong proposal."

The Round Table on ageing was organised by the Economic and Social Policy (ECOS) commission of the Committee of the Regions (CoR). The meeting was called as the Committee draws up it's Opinion on the European Commission's document Dealing with the Impact of an Ageing Population in the EU (2009 Ageing Report). The rapporteur is Dutch ALDE member Rob Bats MEP.

As well as Liz Lynne, who was representing the Parliament, the meeting also heard feedback from the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Liz thanked Mr Bats for the work he has done on his paper and also repeated her calls for an end to mandatory retirement ages.

ENDS

Note: Liz Lynne MEP is currently the 1st Vice President of the European Parliaments Employment and Social Affairs Committee and was Co chair of the Age Intergroup (currently being re-established) and Vice President of the Disability Intergroup in the previous mandate. She is also working on drafting a code of conduct in order to provide minimum standards of care for older people which Member States could sign up to and encourage other tiers of administration to accept as a baseline.