European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, awards the Access City Award 2022 to the Mayor of Luxembourg City, Lydie Polfer; Credit: VdL Photothèque - Natascha Schmit

On Friday 17 June 2022, the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, awarded the Access City Award 2022 to Luxembourg City.

During her visit to the Grand Duchy, Commissioner Dalli addressed the Chamber of Deputies to present and exchange views on all areas of the Equality portfolio with members of the Luxembourg Parliament. The Commissioner then met Taina Bofferding, Luxembourg's Minister for Home Affairs and for Equality between Women and Men, to discuss the gender equality portfolio, in particular the recent European Union (EU) proposal on combatting violence against women and domestic violence, the proposed EU Pay Transparency Directive and the EU Directive on Work-Life Balance.

Commissioner Dalli stated: "Pay transparency helps us see pay discrimination arising from gender stereotypes, bias and beliefs that still, often unconsciously, influence pay setting. We cannot wait decades to see equality – that is why we need pay transparency. I also called on Luxembourg for their full support on the directive on violence against women and domestic violence. We must effectively combat violence against women and domestic violence with a united front".

The Commissioner recalled that all Member States must transpose the Directive on Work-Life Balance into national legislation by August 2022. The aim is to achieve a better sharing of care responsibilities between women and men, by allowing men to make use of their rights to parental leave by introducing two months of adequately paid and non-transferable leave for each parent.

In the afternoon, Commissioner Dalli awarded the City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg - VdL) with the Access City Award 2022 at an official ceremony, in the presence of Lydie Polfer, Mayor of the City of Luxembourg, and Patrick Goldschmidt, the alderman responsible for the integration of people with special needs. Back in December 2021, during a virtual ceremony, the City of Luxembourg was declared the winner of this award.

Commission Dalli commented: "The City of Luxembourg has worked hard over the years, together across city departments and with organisations of persons with disabilities to make a difference. Improvements to accessibility at city level have an immediate impact on the daily lives of persons with disabilities – so that everyone can do everyday things such as take a tram or bus to work or to school, visit a museum, participate in decision-making, or access services without barriers".

Mayor Lydie Polfer added: "The creation of a city for all, inclusive in all areas of life, is a top priority for the City of Luxembourg. This distinction reflects the efforts made in recent years to guarantee everyone significant autonomy and the City of Luxembourg is particularly honored to see its efforts recognised internationally".

"Whether in the field of accessibility in public space, transport infrastructure, public services of the City, or information and communication, the City has launched numerous initiatives aimed at facilitating the daily life of the people concerned but also at raising awareness among the general public by promoting exchanges and promoting mutual understanding with a view to better living together", emphasised Alderman Patrick Goldschmidt. "In order to better coordinate the efforts implemented in the various City departments and with external partners, the Integration and Specific Needs Department was created in 2012. It is thanks to this joint work with all the people involved that all these actions and improvements, which have earned us this distinction, have been carried out".

The Access City Award is part of a wider set of EU initiatives to enhance accessibility, such as the European Accessibility Act, the Web Accessibility Directive, the definition of European accessibility standards and the upcoming launch of the new European resource centre, AccessibleEU.

Commissioner Dalli later met with Rabbi Grodensky to discuss the work being done to combat antisemitism, the role of religions in the fight against discrimination and how to combat prejudice towards LGBTIQ people.