Dear Presidents and Commissioner Oettinger,
We are writing to you as Members of the European Parliament and as members of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) to express our concern regarding the European Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy ‘A better workplace for all: from equal opportunities to towards diversity and inclusion’ which was published on 19th July 2017.
We are pleased that Commission in the strategy has taken great strides forward in respect to women, employees with disabilities, LGBTI staff and older employees. However, we are guided by our commitment to equality for all and do not believe this sentiment is reflected in the strategy. In our opinion, it is completely unacceptable that the strategy fails to tackle discrimination based on race, ethnic origin and religion, which remain some of the most pressing concerns of diversity and inclusion in the European Commission today.
The European Commission has been criticised for under-representation of racial, ethnic and religious minorities. At senior levels, there is currently no Commissioner or Director General from a racial, ethnic origin and religious minority background. This clearly indicates a level of structural discrimination within the European Commission and puts at risk the equal inclusion of racial, ethnic and religious minority employees.
The European Commission could have led the way in upholding the open values of the European Union and creating an inclusive working environment that welcomes all European Union citizens regardless of their background. Instead, with this omission, the Commission has sent the wrong message to current and future employees from racial, ethnic, and religious minority backgrounds that neither they, nor their concerns are priority of this administration or the European Commission. This message is all the more irresponsible and dangerous given the current political context in Europe.
We therefore ask that the strategy be amended immediately to include racial, ethnic and religious minority employees as a target group and that specific measures be developed to ensure that the Commission is a fair and equal workplace for these employees.
However, the inclusion of racial, ethnic and religious minority staff is not enough. We would like to ask you to ensure that the European Commission recognises that discrimination on these grounds occur and takes steps to address the overwhelming lack of representation of racial, ethnic and religious minorities (particularly at senior levels), discrimination within the workplace, and the need for policies for reasonable accommodation of cultural and religious needs for Commission staff.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP
Brando Benifei MEP
Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP
Ana Gomes MEP
Anna Hedh MEP
Benedek Javor MEP
Sajjad Karim MEP
Dietmar Köster MEP
Ulrike Luncek MEP
Cecile Kyenge MEP
Peter Niedermüller MEP
Soraya Post MEP
Julia Reda MEP
Terry Reintke MEP
Barbara Spinelli MEP
Julie Ward MEP
Hilde Vautmans MEP