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EU blocks British request for disclosure on controversial EU Directive

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The EU Council has refused to allow the public to access documents concerning the highly controversial EU Equal Treatment Directive.

The EU Council has refused to allow the public to access documents concerning the highly controversial EU Equal Treatment Directive, which is currently being negotiated in secret between European Member States. The refusal follows a public access request by Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON).

The Directive seeks to outlaw discrimination on several grounds, including sexual orientation and religion in the provision of goods and services, and includes a controversial harassment provision which threatens free speech. This is the first time that the EU has legislated on discrimination in the delivery of goods and services on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation.

Christians fear that the Directive will undermine freedom of religion and free speech and promote ‘homosexual rights’ above freedom of conscience. Similar laws introduced in the UK in 2007 led to the closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies.

As these crucial issues in the Directive are still being discussed, a lack of public access to the documents will mean that the public will not be able to make any representations to their Ministers about these key issues.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of CCFON, warned:

“The fact that European citizens are being denied access to such important documents is deeply undemocratic. The provisions of the Directive are likely to restrict Christian freedoms as Christians may be silenced and prevented from providing goods or services to the public if they do not want to compromise their beliefs, particularly if required to promote other religions or the practice of homosexuality. If a Christian says or does something whilst providing the goods or services that someone finds offensive then they can be sued for an unlimited amount of compensation for “harassment”. This will cast a chilling shadow over free speech and freedom of expression for Christians, as it will for those with any unpopular views.”

Please click here to see the letter from the General Secretariat denying access to the documents.

Please click here to see the reply from CCFON asking for reconsideration of public access.

Please click here to see the CCFON action pack on the EU Directive - November 2009.

Please click here to see the CCFON response to the Government Consultation on this Directive - July 2009.

 

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