The General Assembly of EWLA held in Helsinki, Finland, on 8 June 2003 adopted unanimously the following Resolution on the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union
The EWLA General Assembly
Welcomes the setting up of the Convention as a democratic way to elaborate fundamental Union instruments.
Expresses its great concern that the Draft Constitutional Treaty restricts the acquis in fundamental rights, including gender equality.
Affirms the proposals that EWLA has made to the Convention, and supports the Conclusions of the European Conference on “Social Rights, a Lever for Equality. Proposals for the European Constitution“, which was organised in Athens by the Greek League for Women’s Rights, in collaboration with the International Alliance of Women (IAW), EWLA and the Association of Women of Southern Europe (AFEM), on 2 April 2003, within the framework of the Greek Presidency .
Emphasises that these proposals are similar to those made by
· the “Athens Declaration for the European Convention” adopted, on 31 March 2003, by the Network of Parliamentary Committees for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the EU ;
· the Jean Monnet Conference on “Gender Equality and the new European Union”, held in Brussels, on 4 March 2003 ;
· the Commission’s Network of Legal Experts on the application of EC gender equality law, in its paper of April 2003 “The European Convention and Gender Equality: Observations on the draft Articles of the Constitutional Treaty”, supported by Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou ;
Notes that the above proposals are supported by the Greek Presidency of the EU.
Supports the above proposals, as reproduced in the Annex to this Resolution
Adds to the above proposals two further requirements regarding gender balance in decision-making.
Requires that these proposals are incorporated into the Constitution, so that the acquis communautaire is fully maintained.
ANNEX – PROPOSALS FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL TREATY OF THE EU
ARTICLE I-2. The Union’s Values
“The Union is founded on the values of peace […], equality, in particular equality between men and women […].”
ARTICLE I-3. The Union’s Objectives
Add: “to maintain in full the acquis communautaire and build on it“ ; “improvement of the quality of life and employment” ; “combating violence and trafficking in persons”.
Paragraph 6 (new): “In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.”
Add after Article 4, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of nationality, new Articles, in accordance whith ECJ case law and international human rights treaties, which will also complement the Charter of Fundamental Rights:
ARTICLE I-4A (new)
“Any direct or indirect discrimination based on any ground, such as sex, racial, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, membership of national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation, is prohibited. Everybody has a right to equal opportunities, without discrimination. The rights of minorities shall be ensured.”
ARTICLE I-4B (new)
“1. Women and men have equal rights in all fields.
2. With a view to ensuring full equality in practice between men and women, positive measures should be adopted, in all fields, aiming in the first instance at improving the situation of women, including ensuring the balanced participation of women and men in decision making.“
ARTICLE I-4C (new)
“The protection of pregnancy and maternity, as well as the reconciling of family and professional life by men and women, shall be ensured. Any unfavourable treatment, in any field, directly or indirectly related to pregnancy, maternity, paternity, including adoption of a child, or the reconciling of family and professional life is prohibited.“
Ø Moreover, it should be provided that above Articles I-4A to I-4C shall be implemented by European laws and framework laws adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure (ex Article 251) by qualified majority vote in the Council.
ARTICLE I-7. Fundamental Rights
1. The Charter is set out in a Protocol annexed to the Constitutional Treaty .
2. The Union may accede to international treaties on human rights, in particular to the ECHR.
3. The Union respects and applies fundamental rights, as guaranteed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the other provisions and principles of Union law and international treaties to which the Union or all Member States are parties, including the ECHR, and as they result from constitutional traditions common to the Member States.
Ø It is stressed that, irrespective of the modality of the Charter’s “incorporation” in the Constitutional Treaty, it is absolutely necessary that the “drafting adjustments” proposed by the working group “Charter” of the Convention not be accepted, as they will give rise to great confusion and to a serious risk of further restriction of the rights included in the Charter .
ARTICLE I-13: Shared competences
Add: “equality between men and women“; maternity and paternity protection“; “reconciling of family and working life“; “employment“ .
ARTICLE I-18: The institutions of the Union
Paragraph 4 (new): “In each institution, appointing authorities are bound to promote an equal representation of women and men, including in the highest decision-making positions” . Article I-26 should be drafted accordingly.
ARTICLE I-44: The principle of democratic equality
“In all its activities, the Union shall observe the principle of the equality of citizens and of the balanced participation of men and women in decision-making.“
Acts of violence must be among the crimes regarding which there will be approximation of national penal laws.
The Protocol on subsidiarity and proportionality must require that the application of these principles should respect the acquis communautaire, as currently required by the corresponding Protocol.
http://www.europarl.eu.int/comparl/femm/ccec/default_en.htm and http://www.ewla.org.
The basic reason for the unification of Europe and the precondition of any other value, right and freedom.
Proposal of the Convention‘s Working Group Social Europe. History proves that “equality” and/or “non discrimination” are insufficient to guarantee gender equality. This is why international treaties (e.g. the UN Covenants) and a growing number of member states’ Constitutions guarantee gender equality. Moreover, the Community has strengthened it by each one of the consecutive Treaties. Gender equality, in itself, is an essential feature of the European identity. Defined by more than 200 ECJ judgements and the CEDAW, it is one of the clearest concepts of all, at least as clear as the values listed in Article I-2.
Current objective of the Union (Article 2 TEU)
Current EU objectives (Art. 2 EC Treaty, Lisbon targets).
(9) Current Art. 3(2) EC Treaty: the legal basis of gender mainstreaming. Gender equality must remain a transversal objective, in Part I. Since the legal function of objectives and values differs, it must also be among the values, so that the Union’s identity is safeguarded.
(10) This Article reflects the case law of the ECJ. It is of crucial importance for the future, indeed the very survival of the Union, and for the quality of life of its population.
While certain provisions of the Charter reflect the acquis, others, e.g. Art. 23(2) (positive action) and Art. 33(2) (family/professional life), fall short of it. Moreover, the Charter’s scope is restricted as compared to the scope of fundamental rights provided by ECJ case law, while certain derogations are allowed according to non-transparent criteria (see EWLA, 5th Contribution). As a Protocol, the Charter will have constitutional force, it will not disrupt the acquis, and it will have more chances not to be further restricted.
These provisions maintains the whole acquis communautaire in fundamental rights, including the Charter.
See EWLA 6th Contribution
«Employment» must be expressly listed under the “shared competences”, so that it is clear that the Union can continue legislating in this area and any danger of deregulation is avoided.
(15) See letter of Anna Karamanou, Chairwoman of EP FEMM Committee, to the Convention, dated 3 June 2003.