As part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, a conference was held last week at the European Parliament (EP).

The two-day event, organised during the Parliament’s so-called October mini-Plenary session, hoped to bring together government officials, NGOs, and the general public to talk about the on-going state of affairs for anti-discrimination.

The opening session was presided over by Michael Cashman. One of the very few out gay MEPs, he was recently honoured with an MEP of the Year award for his work on human rights.

Mr Cashman is President of the EP’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, which has begun including the issue of multiple discrimination and gender identity in its work agenda following a meeting with Transgender Europe.

The European Commission had already announced its intention to launch new initiatives to prevent and combat discrimination beyond the labour market based on gender, religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The Commission recently completed an online consultation on combating discrimination in the Member States and at EU level, to help the Commission plan these new measures.

Mr Cashman thanked the work of the European Commission’s equality units.

“They work hard on a day-to-day basis to ensure that all European citizens enjoy the equal opportunities that they deserve.

“Without their passion and without their commitment, Europe would not be one of the few continents where anti-discrimination legislation is most far-reaching of all.

“The Conference went on to raise some very important issues that are being experienced by all minorities. Europe must now come up with convincing roadmaps for change.

“I welcome the Commission’s readiness to work with us on meeting the challenges of the multitude intersections of discrimination.”

The conference was organised by the European Parliament and the European Commission alongside a photo exhibition which had been prepared for the event.