• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
nternational Women 's Day, on 8 March, offered
an opportunity to evaluate progress, look at
persisting discrimination and see what remains
to be done in the field of women's rights.
Invited to speak to the European Parliament on
equal opportunities, Jacques Santer, President of the
Commission, used this occasion to measure recent
progress in the field by the European institutions:
the EU 's contribution to the UN Conference in
Beijing, the adoption of the Fourth Action
Programme on Equal Opportunities, the
recommendation on the participation of women in
decision-making and the agreement on parental
leave. He reiterated his commitment to equal
Jacques Santer also described Commission

Preparing tomorrows Europe
• • The Intergovernmental Conference

(IGC) to review the Maastricht

Treaty on European Union,
• started on 29 March in Turin, attended
• by EU Member State Foreign
• Ministers and the European
• • Commission. This is the beginning of
• a long negotiation process that is
• expected to last several months. In an
• Opinion on the IGC, the Commission
• said that the 1996 Intergovernmental
• Conference "is probably the last
• and only opportunity all 15
• Member States will have to
• • reflect together how the
• Union is to function in a
• wider framework." The
• European Parliament and

the Reflection Group set up after the
1994 Corfu Summit to prepare the
Treaty review (see UiJmen of Europe
Newsletter No 53) have also put forward
position papers for the start of the
talks. Non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) were consulted directly by
Commissioner Marcelino Oreja and
invited to present their views at two
public hearings organised by the
Parliament. Three issues have been the
focus of debate: A citizen's
Europe, giving the Union a
clear identity on the world
scene and preparing it for
actions currently under way: the Communication on •
mainstreaming and a forthcoming Communication

on the interpretation of the Kalanke ruling. He
mentioned initiatives taken within the Commission
itself such as the setting up of the Group of
Commissioners on Equal Opportunities and the
continuation of staff policy which, by promoting
equality in recruitment and ensuring women are
present at management level, seeks to serve as a
model for Member State public sectors.
President Santer's commitment to women 's
rights is of particular importance in the context of
the recent launch of the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC) which will also examine equal
In its Opinion on the IGC, the Commission
includes " provisions banning discrimination of any
kind, particularly on the basis of sex" into the
chapter on human rights. This extension of the
notion of equality of opportunity to human rights is
a positive and, I hope, irreversible development,
stemming from commitments made at the highest
levels of EU decision-making and based on the
political will expressed during the Beijing
Equal rights between men and women has now
become a general, and not just sectoral, policy. •
Veronique Houdart-Biazy
Head of Section - Information for Women

• • A people's Europe

• T
he European Union must

become closer to its citizens, make its

presence better felt in the world and

• adapt its working methods to open its doors
• to a further 12 new M ember States. With• o ut such preparation, the European Com• mission, in its Opinion on the IGC, fears
• that enlargement would endanger " the
• ac hievements of 40 years of European inte• gration" and " the peace and prosperity it has
• • generated. This incomparable heritage must
• now be developed, and extended to the
• other countries of a conti• nent that has been divided
• for too long."

: a ~~tro~~· i~;~~~~sn bu~;Loe~
• combining democracy and
• the respect of human rights
• including equality with an
• "open economy under• pinned by market forces, in• ternal solidarity and cohe• sian."

• • The Commission urged
• the IGC to clearly "signal its
• espousal of these values" by
Parliament said the principle
of equal treatment and nondiscrimination should be included in a new
Treaty chapter on European citizenship
which makes clear that European citizenship "does not replace national citizenship
but complements it" giving new rights and
obligations towards the Union. It said equal
treatment and non-discrimination should
cover "race, gender, sexual orientation, age,
religion or handicap." Parliament wanted
the current equality provisions in Article
119 of the Rome founding Treaty "to be
maintained" but also "extended to all aspects
of equal opportunities in
economic and social life."
• including in the Treaty new
• provisions banning any kind
Marcelino Oreja
: of discrimination, "particularly on the basis
The Commission said the
social dimension of Europe
"should be one of the central
themes." Like the Parliament
it called for "a common base
of social rights for all Union
citizens" and for the integration into the Treaty of the
Social Protocol which currently does not include the
UK. The Treaty should also
allow for cooperation between Member States on social policy issues such as
marginalisation and poverty,
it said.
• of sex, thereby extending the provisions on
• equal pay," and condemning racism and
• xenophobia. The Reflection Group in its
• report and the European Parliament in its
• Resolution based on a report drawn up by
• Raymonde Dury and Hanja Maij-Weggen
• also called for the inclusion of such clauses.

• •

With unemployment affecting nearly 20
million people in the Union, the Commission urged that specific provisions on employment should to be written into the
Treaty to permit a common strategy to create jobs. The Parliament also made the same

Women of Europe Newsletter [1996], 59 (Apr) - 1/4