Plenary summary: shrinking civil space in Europe, racism, foreign interference in democratic processes of the EU, the EU Gender Action Plan III and the Rule of Law

During its March I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Shrinking space for civil society in Europe

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on Shrinking space for civil society in Europe(rapporteur: Anna Donáth, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Tuesday.

The text of the report, among others, asserts the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in realising and protecting EU values as articulated in Article 2 TEU, warns about the degradation of civic space and urges the adoption of a comprehensive civil society strategy by the European Commission to protect and develop civic space in the EU. In particular, it also highlights the following:

  • Expresses deep concern about the increased violence and hatred targeting organisations and activistsworking with religious minorities or on anti-racism, feminism and LGBTIQ+ rights; (¶25)
  • Recalls that the scapegoating of CSOs working on women’s rights and with minorities and vulnerable groups such as LGBTIQ+ persons is not an isolated event, but functions as a premeditated and gradual dismantling of fundamental rights, which are protected in Article 2 TEU, and constitutes part of a larger political agenda of ‘anti-gender’ campaigns; calls on Member States to be particularly cautious of initiatives that attempt to roll back on acquired rights which were designed to prevent and protect persons from discrimination and to promote equality; (¶26)
  • Condemns any form of politically or otherwise motivated discrimination in the allocation of public funds and the ensuing chilling effects; calls on the Member States to ensure clear, transparent and non-discriminatory procedures in this respect; condemns any form of restrictions to access funding, especially those which target CSOs and activists working to protect the rights of women, LGBTIQ+ persons, minorities, migrants and refugees; (¶38)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 11-12) (final votes (695): +526, -115, o54).

Role of culture, education, media and sport in the fight against racism 

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament also debated the report on Role of culture, education, media and sport in the fight against racism (rapporteur: Salima Yenbou, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Tuesday.

The text of the report stresses the need for a zero tolerance approach concerning racism and the need for national actions plans against racism, underlining afterwards several actions in the realms of culture, education, media and sport to fight it. It mentions:

  • Recognises that greater attention should be paid to the representation of diverse groups in sportgenerally and in managerial positions at sporting organisations, including women and those who have fewer opportunities such as refugees, ethnic and racial minorities and the LGBTIQ community; urges international, European and national sports governing bodies and stakeholders to implement measures on diversity and inclusion, in particular to address the low numbers of women and ethnic minorities in leadership positions and on boards; calls on the Member States to develop inclusive sports policies with the appropriate funding to ensure that sport is accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity, race, disability or socioeconomic background; (¶67)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 11-12) (final votes (696): +495, -109, o92).

Foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on Foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation (rapporteur: Sandra Kalniete, EPP). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The text of the report focuses on the whole work conducted by the INGE Special committee, and provides also concrete actions to be taken to target misinformation when targeting LGBTIQ persons:

  • Underlines that an essential response to foreign interference attempts is to defend the main target groups it is aimed at; emphasises the need for targeted action, through a harmonised EU legal framework, against the spread of disinformation and hate speech on issues related to gender, LGBTIQ+ people, minorities and refugees; calls on the Commission to develop and implement strategies to hinder the financing of individuals and groups that actively spread or participate in information manipulation, frequently targeted against the abovementioned groups and topics, in order to divide society; calls for positive communication campaigns on these issues and underlines the need for gender-sensitive training; (¶35)
  • Recognises that gendered disinformation attacks and campaigns are often used as part of a broader political strategy to undermine equal participation in democratic processes, especially for women and LGBTIQ+ people; stresses that disinformation about LGBTIQ+ people fuels hate, both online and offline, and threatens lives; calls for research into online disinformation to be carried out with an intersectional lens and for oversight of the changes platforms are making to respond to gendered disinformation campaigns online; calls for increased attention to be paid to gender-based disinformation through the creation of early warning systems through which gendered disinformation campaigns can be reported and identified; (¶36)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 291-292) (final votes (693): +552, -81, o60).

EU Gender Action Plan III

Also on Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report EU Gender Action Plan III (rapporteur: Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The report focused on the European Commission Communication on the EU Gender Action Plan III, welcoming it and the commitments therein. In what concerns LGBTIQ persons, the report stated the following:

  • Stresses that gender equality is a human right, crucial to sustainable development and smart economies, benefiting both women and men, in all their diversity, including the LGBTQI+ communitynotes that gender inequality is exacerbated by other forms of inequality; stresses that inequalities have far-reaching socio-economic consequences for societies as a whole and that this should be taken into account by change-resistant stakeholders; (…); (¶24)
  • Welcomes the inclusion of intersectionality as a core principle of GAP III, but regrets the lack of targets, indicators and specific actions in order to implement it; emphasises the commitment of the Commission and the EEAS to protect and enable LGBTQI+ people to assert their rights around the world; (¶25)
  • Deplores the fact that access to sexual and reproductive health, including safe and legal abortion, has been seriously curtailed and often criminalised in many regions worldwide; (…)stresses the importance of continuing to challenge the discriminatory norms that make it difficult for women, girls and LGBTQI+ people to enjoy their SRHR, as well as stereotypes that lead to discrimination against marginalised women during childbirth; (¶34)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 577-578) (final votes (688): +479, -93, o116).

Resolution on the rule of law and the consequences of the ECJ ruling

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the Resolution on the rule of law and the consequences of the ECJ ruling. The debate had taken place during the last plenary session in February and can be watched here (Part I and Part II)

The resolution focused on the ECJ’s the ECJ’s judgments of 16 February 2022 in cases C-156/21 and C- 157/21 and states:

  • Regrets the inability of the Council to make meaningful progress in enforcing the Union’s values in ongoing Article 7 procedures in response to the threats to common European values in Poland and Hungary; points out that this failure by the Council to make effective use of Article 7 TEU continues to undermine the integrity of common European values, mutual trust, and the credibility of the Union as a whole; urges the French Presidency and its successors to organise hearings on a regular basis; welcomes, in this regard, the first hearing convened by the French Presidency on 22 February 2022 and the second, which has been planned for 30 May 2022; recommends that the Council address concrete recommendations to the Member States in question, as provided for by Article 7(1) TEU, as a follow‐up to the hearings, and that it indicate deadlines for the implementation of those recommendations; (¶6)
  • Calls, therefore, on the French Presidency to fulfil its commitment to ‘a humane Europe’ and to resolutely contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law and to the protection of fundamental rights, as enshrined in its EU presidency programme, in which the rule of law is described as ‘an essential prerequisite to the proper functioning of the Union’; urges the French Presidency to support the swift and proper application and implementation of the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation; (¶7)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 579-580) (final votes (662): +478, -155, o29).

For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.

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