Letter: Citizens of Europe

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Following the terrible events in Brixton and Brick Lane, we welcome the Treaty of Amsterdam, which puts the fight against discrimination at the top of the EU agenda. The treaty, which comes into force on 1 May, is the most significant step yet towards ensuring equality for all within the European Union.

Women, the old and disabled, ethnic and religious groups, and all, irrespective of sexual preferences, must be treated equally and fairly according to this largely unsung but landmark piece of legislation.

It ensures that men and women receive equal pay for work of equal value. But it also extends this protection to all forms of discrimination.

This well timed treaty also seeks to bring Brussels closer to ordinary people. The EU institutions will have to make their decision-making more "transparent". The Court of Auditors will be strengthened in its work of overseeing expenditure by the Commission.

Like the citizens of the Roman Empire, we will all be encouraged to feel that we are citizens of Europe, whilst being no less citizens of our individual member states. The powers of the Parliament, the only directly elected European institution, will be increased.

We look forward to seeing a fairer and more democratic EU emerging as a result of this treaty.

MAUREEN TOMISON

Chair, UK Women of Europe

GILES RADICE MP

(Lab, Durham North)

Chair, European Movement

ANGELA GUILLAUME

International Chair

European Union of Women

ARLINE WOUTERSZ

Deputy President

World Association Women Entrepreneurs

London SW1

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