The European Scrutiny Committee has made further
progress in the matter referred to it and has agreed to the following
AMENDING THE 1976 EQUAL
Commission Opinion on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position regarding the draft Directive amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions.
|Legal base:||Article 141EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
|Document originated:||27 November 2001
|Forwarded to the Council:
||28 November 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||3 January 2002|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 7 January 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (22485) 9907/01: HC 152-iii (2001-02), paragraph 6 (31 October 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
|Committee's assessment:||Legally and politically important
|Committee's decision:||For debate in European Standing Committee B
1.1 The draft Directive aims to bring the 1976 Equal
Treatment Directive (76/207/EEC) up to date. The Council adopted
a Common Position in July 2001. The European Parliament produced
its Second Reading Opinion on 24 October 2001, proposing fifteen
changes to the text.
1.2 The document sets out the Commission Opinion on the
fifteen proposed amendments. The Commission accepts seven amendments
either partially or with some suggested rewording; it rejects
the remaining eight. Several amendments are rejected as going
beyond the scope or legal base of the Directive.
The Government's view
1.3 The Minister for Women (Mrs Barbara Roche) includes
with her Explanatory Memorandum a detailed list of the proposed
amendments with the Commission's Opinion and the UK response to
each. (The list is annexed to this paragraph.) She notes that
the Commission supports the Common Position to a significant extent.
1.4 The Minister highlights UK concerns over amendments
which relate to the Directive's scope and definitions; over the
amendment to cover "work life balance" and parental
problems (which the Government considers should be distinguished
from sex discrimination); over some aspects of the sexual harassment
amendment; and over the proposal that would require Member States
to encourage employers to have specific equal opportunity programmes.
She also considers that some of the amendments may go beyond the
bounds of subsidiarity the requirement to have sanctions,
for example, and the requirement about funding for a designated
equal treatment body.
1.5 The Minister tells us that the Council has three
months from the end of October 2001 in which to consider the proposed
amendments. Preparations for a probable conciliation process will
continue under the Spanish Presidency.
1.6 In view of the importance of this subject area
and the significant divergence between the European Parliament
and the UK position on some of the amendments, we recommend the
document for debate in European Standing Committee B.
1.7 The European Standing Committee may wish to ask
the Minister to explain the UK's position on the proposed amendments.