Barroso II Commission – Viviane Reding speaks out against homophobia without committing to action

Between the 11th and 19th January 2010, the European Parliament is conducting 3-hour interviews with European Commissioner-Designates. This exercise of democratic scrutiny allows Members of the European Parliament to raise issues related to Commissioner-Designates’ portfolios, relay civil society’s concerns to future Commissioners, and secure commitments from Commissioner-Designates for their five years in office.

During the hearings of European Commissioner-Designates by the European Parliament, the Intergroup on LGBT Rights is releasing short bulletins on issues relevant to LGBT rights raised during the top-level interviews of future Commissioners.

Commissioner Viviane RedingToday, the Parliament heard Viviane Reding (Luxembourg), Commissioner-Designate for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Her portfolio includes key areas for LGBT rights, such as the mutual recognition of same-sex unions across EU countries, and the adoption of a horizontal directive banning discrimination outside of employment.

Referring to same-sex unions, she affirmed that citizens must retain rights acquired in one country wherever they are in the EU. Although Commissioner-designate Reding declared that “homophobia has no place in Europe”, she also avoided responding to specific questions on the rights of LGBT people.

For Sophie In’t Veld MEP, Vice-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, “Commissioner-designate Reding spoke out convincingly against homophobia and discrimination, and in favour of recognising same-sex unions.” Yet Ms In’t Veld added, unconvinced: “But she also remained completely silent on what she will do to combat homophobia and discrimination.”