In 2008 the Commission issued a proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. (COM (2008) 426)
In the preparation of the initiative the Commission investigated the need for such a directive. They showed that whereas equality and non-discrimination are fundamental values of the EU, the level of legal protection provided for the different grounds of discrimination differs.
Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of FRA's Equality and Citizens' Rights Department, provided evidence in a speech at the European Parliament's LIBE Committee hearing on 20 March saying that although the European Union has put in place a number of legal instruments to promote equal treatment and provide effective protection against discrimination, there is a need for more comprehensive protection for all grounds of discrimination. The evidence included information based on data collected by the Agency on sexual orientation, disability and age.
The proposed directive, he said, would "protect and promote fundamental rights more comprehensively, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights".
For more information about the hearing see the page of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee.