OPINION

A bold initiative

Draft legislation currently being elaborated by Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras, and due to be submitted in Parliament soon, foresees equal rights in the workplace, in social welfare, and, it is hoped, also in education, for all those legally living and working in Greece. Assuming that the debate will not change the intentions of the two ministers, we can breathe a sigh of relief when considering that this is the government’s first piece of legislation that heralds fundamental changes in the country’s broader institutional framework, rather than temporarily fixing a problematic situation. Let’s hope that more such pieces of legislation will be forthcoming where they are really needed… Many of the changes foreseen by the equality bill constitute the compulsory incorporation of European laws. This does not negate the boldness of the initiative and its major institutional and ideological significance. It simply shows that we are somewhat behind in the process of harmonization with EU principles and institutions. Sooner or later even the skeptics will acknowledge that societal development based on the mistreatment of the less well off, on discrimination and on prejudices is simply not viable; all it creates is illusions. The new bill looks forward to a new era which is already dawning…