Almost two thirds of all Europeans expect the economic downturn to lead to more age discrimination in the job market. Around one in six people in Europe said they had personally experienced discrimination in the past year — this was the same level as in 2008.
The latest European Commission opinion survey interviewed almost 27,000 people in 30 European countries. The most common cause that Europeans gave for being discriminated against was still race, followed by age, disability, sexual orientation, gender and religion. An increase in awareness about discrimination was thought to be a possible reflection of rising unemployment in many EU countries as a result of the recession. This survey added questions on how people think the recession has affected discrimination. European Commission Claire Herrmann said: “In the context of the economic crisis, we see there has been a very significant increase, on the part of people surveyed, of a fear of discrimination on the basis of age. That’s not just older people; you also have to think about young people who can not even get into the jobs market, who are not even called for job interviews.” On 16-17 November 2009, the Swedish Presidency of the EU and the European Commission are joint hosts of the 3rd annual EU Equality Summit in Stockholm. This aims to drive discrimination and diversity to the top of European and national agendas.