Social Economy Recognised in the First LGBTIQ Equality Strategy and in the New Consumers Agenda

On 12 November, the European Commission presented its communication Union of Equality: LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025, which represents good news for LGBTIQ people in Europe with an unprecedented vision for and commitment to equal rights of LGBTIQ citizens. The strategy report can be found here and opens with encouraging words of Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen:

I will not rest when it comes to building a Union of equality. A Union where you can be who you are and love who you want – without fear of recrimination or discrimination. Because being yourself is not your ideology. It’s your identity. And no-one can ever take it away

Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) State of the Union 2020 Tweet

Discrimination is still a problem for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer. Often LGBTIQ people still experience discrimination during recruitment and throughout their career and the Commission promises to strengthen legislation to combat this.

The strategy sets out targeted actions to:

  1. Fight discrimination
  2. Ensure safety
  3. Protect the rights of rainbow families
  4. Aid LGBTIQ equality around the world

The social economy is well recognised in the strategy for promoting inclusion in the workplace stating “[the social economy] can develop specific programmes, training and schemes leading to increased inclusion of LGBTIQ people”

The Action Plan for the Social Economy, which is to be released in 2021 is mentioned as an important tool to address how better to include specific marginalised groups in the society including LGBTIQ people.

The New Consumers Agenda

The EU is preparing to table its new consumer strategy later in the year. The commission communication on the New Consumers Agenda on Strengthening consumer resilience for sustainable recovery can be found here. The strategy will aim to update EU consumer policy to:

Tackle Green Transition and Digitalisation issues as well as protect vulnerable consumers due to the COVID-19 crisis by changing legislation in consumer information on goods and services, consumer credit and product safety.

Importantly the initiative references the social economy in the green transition and also digital transition with regard to older people and people with disabilities who have specific consumption related needs,

“Experience from some Member States shows that local initiatives that provide advice to consumers in rural areas or urban districts90 are among the most effective. Social economy organisations are particularly well placed to address these needs thanks to their proximity to local and rural communities.

European Commission Communication COM(2020)696 Tweet

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