An influential committee of MEPs has finalised its report on a controversial Directive which threatens religious liberty.
The Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) approved the final version of its report by 34 votes to seven with four abstentions.
The committee was scrutinising a proposed EU Directive which would outlaw discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation and religion in the provision of goods and services.
The full European Parliament will now meet in early April to consider whether to adopt the LIBE Committee report as its own recommendations on the Directive.
London Green MEP Jean Lambert is a member of the committee and voted in favour of the report. She said: “The adoption of this report marks welcome progress on equal rights, particularly on access to goods and services.
“However, certain issues concerning family law are not included and we may face difficult negotiations to secure support across parties, given the positions of the largest political groups in the European Parliament.
“Since 2000, European legislation has outlawed all forms of discrimination in the workplace. However for too long there has been no legal provision at European level to ban discrimination on grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion/belief beyond the world of work.
She added: “I hope [the Directive] will be fully supported by the European Parliament as a whole when it comes for vote in plenary.”
Power to enact, amend or reject the Directive lies with the Council of the European Union, a body composed of government representatives from each of the 27 member states.
However, the Council must make this decision having noted the opinion of the European Parliament. The vote on the LIBE report, scheduled for early April, is the Parliament’s opportunity to express this opinion.