Plenary summary: Progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, SRHR in the EU, Rule of Law report and the Common Provisions Regulation
During its June II plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons:
- Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) report on the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) report on Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health
- Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) report on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of law report
- Common provisions on European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund Plus, Cohesion Fund, Just Transition Fund, European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and financial rules for those and for Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Internal Security Fund and Instrument for Financial Support for Border Management and Visa Policy 2021–2027
- (Note: For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.)
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report from the Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina[MC1] (rapporteur: Paulo Rangel, EPP). The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the report states the following:
- Expresses concern over the fundamental rights situation, and calls for more effective and comprehensive country-wide human rights and anti-discrimination strategies, as well as measures against inter-faith and inter-ethnic intolerance; stresses the need to duly prevent discrimination and prosecute the proliferation of online and offline hate speech, hate crimes and violence against ethnic and religious minorities, women, the LGBTIQ+ community as well as migrants and asylum seekers, and to promote social, educational and occupational inclusion of minorities and vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities and the Roma, in line with the 2019 Poznan Declaration on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process; (¶36)
- Commends the first-ever Sarajevo Pride, held on 9 September 2019, and expects that the latest pandemic-related restrictions do not prevent it from resuming in the near future; recalls the need to improve the situation of LGBTIQ+ people, prosecute violence and hate crimes against them, as well as to promote their social inclusion and adopt a relevant action plan); (¶43)
Paragraph (43) carried two split votes, which you can check here (page 3). || The votes on the splits led the text to remain as tabled. || Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the splits here (page 410-413)
Still on Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report from the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) on Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health(rapporteur: Fred Matić, S&D). The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text has numerous paragraphs impacting on the rights of lesbian women, as well as trans, non-binary and intersex persons. Some of them are the following:
- whereas the WHO defines infertility as ‘a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse’; whereas this definition fails to encompass the reality of lesbian and bisexual women, as well as transgender persons, in same-sex couples, or single women interested in fertility options, exacerbating the socio-legal challenges they already face in access to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) as a result of the focus on countering infertility; whereas lesbian and bisexual women may be unable to prove their ‘infertility’ and therefore be denied access to ART; (recital M)
- Recalls the views endorsed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which recommended that trans-specific healthcare such as hormonal treatment and surgery should be accessible and reimbursed by public health insurance schemes; (¶8)
- Reaffirms its call on Member States to adopt legislation ensuring that intersex persons are not subjected to non-vital medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, and that their right to bodily integrity, autonomy, self-determination and informed consent is fully respected; (¶19)
- Recalls the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A.P., Garçon and Nicot v. France, in which it recognised that a Member State’s requirement for sterilisation ahead of allowing legal gender recognition procedures amounted to a failure to secure the right to respect for the private life of the applicant; recalls the UN’s acknowledgement that forced sterilisation is a violation of the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; deplores the fact that sterilisation remains a sine qua non condition for access to legal gender recognition in some EU Member States; calls on the Member States to abolish the sterilisation requirement and to protect transgender persons’ right to self-determination; (¶21)
- Calls on the Member States to counter discrimination in SRHR services and use an intersectional approach to make sure that women and girls (both transgender and cisgender), non-binary persons, lesbian, bisexual and intersex women have equal access to SRHR services and rights; (¶72)
Many of the paragraphs on LGBTI issues carried split votes or separate votes, which you can check here. || The votes on the splits led the text to remain as tabled, as you can check here (page 4-7). || Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the splits here (page 20-171)
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of law report (rapporteur: Domènec Ruiz Devesa, S&D). The text was adopted on Thursday.
The text of the report states the following:
- Observes that the deterioration of media freedom is leading to an increase in the scapegoating and targeting of minorities, often government-led, such as against LGBTI people, migrants and refugees, resulting in an increase in hate speech against these groups and censorship of media; calls on the Commission to assess in future reports the effect that hate crimes and hate speech have on discrimination; (¶28)
- Underlines its concern at the fact that people in vulnerable situations, including persons with disabilities, children, religious minorities, particularly at a time of rising antisemitism and islamophobia in Europe, Roma and other persons belonging to ethnic and linguistic minorities, migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, LGBTI+ persons and elderly people as well as women, continue to see their rights not being fully respected across the Union in contravention of Article 2 of the TEU; emphasises the obvious link between deteriorating rule of law standards and fundamental rights and minority rights violations in the Member States concerned; calls on the Commission to assess the persistent violations of democracy and fundamental rights throughout the Union, including attacks against people in vulnerable situations; (¶38)
- […] calls on the Commission to apply the Common Provisions Regulation and Financial Regulation more stringently in order to tackle the discriminatory use of EU funds, as it did when withholding funds for municipal or local governments proclaiming themselves ‘free from LGBTI ideology’; (¶57)
“The legislation lays down common provisions for the Regional and Cohesion fund, the Just Transition Fund, the European Social Fund Plus and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund. Together, the instruments covered by this legislation represent about a third of the EU’s total budget for 2021-2027, with a total of 330 billion euro (in 2018 prices).
In order to receive EU funding, countries will have to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, promote gender equality and fight discrimination.” (source: European Parliament Press release)