Five Member States have failed to transpose Directive 2000/78/EC into their national law
The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimir Spidla, expressed his disappointment at having to refer Austria, Germany, Finland, Greece and Luxembourg to the Court. 'But I am encouraged that many Member States, in particular the majority of the new ones, have made real efforts to put anti-discrimination legislation in place on time,' he said.
The Member States had until 2 December 2003 to implement the Directive prohibiting discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in employment and vocational training (Directive 2000/78/EC). Only France, Spain, Italy and Sweden had fully transposed the Directive into their national legislation by the dead-line, and the Commission therefore launched infringement procedures against the other Member States.
Just over a year after this dead-line, five Member States have failed, either partially or completely, to transpose the Directive into their national law. The Commission has therefore decided to take the final step of the infringement procedure and to refer Germany, Luxembourg, Greece, Austria and Finland to the European Court of Justice.
The new Member States had to ensure that their legislation complied with the Directives when they joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
Following the entry into force of national legislation, the next step for the Commission is to examine whether the Directives have been properly implemented.