European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

EU leaders : EU has to step up its work on LGBTI equality

Participants of a debate organised by ILGA-Europe, which brought together high-level representatives from the five main European political parties, agreed that the current EU’s efforts to ensure LGBTI equality are not enough and highlighted specific steps the European Union need to make.

The panellists included:

  • Guy Verhofstadt, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party’s candidate to the European Commission’s Presidency
  • Hannes Swoboda (Party of European Socialists, President of S&D Group),
  • Sirpa Pietikäinen (European People’s Party)
  • Marije Cornelissen (European Green Party)
  • Gilles Garnier (European Left Party).

EU LGBT Roadmap

The panellists stated that the EU has to adopt an LGBT Roadmap and have systematic and comprehensive approach towards LGBT equality. Current EU Fundamental Rights Commissioner’s resistance towards adoption of such Roadmap was criticised. It was also stated that the Roadmap is necessary not just for the EU institutions but also for the purpose of dealing with those EU Member States which violate human rights of LGBTI people. Clear call for the next EU Fundamental Rights Commissioner to support EU LGBT Roadmap was made.

Anti-discrimination directive

The panellist criticised the blockage on the EU anti-discrimination directive which aims to level up protections against discrimination in all EU areas of competence on all grounds of discrimination recognised in the EU law (racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation) and called for immediate progress in adoption of this directive.

Subsidiarity

The panellists stated that the EU subsidiarity principle cannot be used as justification for EU inaction on improving LGBTI equality.

Political leadership

The panellists highlighted the urgent need for leadership on top of political parties to lead the progress on LGBTI equality. Additionally, they criticised the EU Commission justifying the lack of progress on some LGBTI equality measures by some EU Member States’ resistance. They call on the EU Commission instead to ensure a proper and detailed debate is provided on such measures and called for the EU Commission to step up its leadership.

EU and human rights

The panel stressed the current raise of nationalist, conservatism and religious extremism that seriously challenges and undermines the EU’s human rights progress. The participants reinforced the very fundamental nature of human rights principles of the EU and the need of real mechanisms for reinforcing those principles both within the EU and when dealing with third countries.

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We are thankful to European political leaders for this lively and frank debate. We particularly welcome the fact that LGBTI equality is being taken on board by all largest European parties representing wide political spectrum from right to left.

The EU leaders identified clear, measurable and achievable goals for the next 5 years mandate of EU institutions and we believe this is a solid basis for our joint work with the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU Member States towards making the EU a true champion of LGBTI equality.”

This political debate was the Brussels launch of the ILGA-Europe European elections campaign 2014 “Come Out” which was launched at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 January 2014.

Full recording of the debate is available on our website