European Parliament reaffirms LGBT rights are a condition to join the European Union

Enlargement countriesToday the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted reports on the accession to the European Union for Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. All three reports call on candidate countries to provide genuine protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minorities, and remind candidate countries that the protection of all minorities is a non-negotiable condition to access the European Union.

The report on Croatia conveys the European Parliament’s concern about the homophobic violence that took place at Zagreb Pride, and calls on the Government to effectively implement and enforce protection against discrimination.

The report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia expresses the European Parliament’s regret that the proposed new anti-discrimination legislation does not cover sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of discrimination, and calls on the Government to bring their anti-discrimination legislation in line with EU standards.

Finally, the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey’s accession points to the shortcomings of the Turkish penal code, allowing for the systematic persecution of LGBT minorities and the limitation of their freedom of assembly.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, commented: “I am happy that our amendments in favour of LGBT rights in the progress reports for Macedonia and Croatia were adopted by the European Parliament. We have reaffirmed that anti-discrimination standards must apply in candidate countries, and Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement, has assured us of his support on this issue. We count on the Commission’s work in this area to make sure fundamental rights are respected in the European region.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, commented: “Accession criteria are crystal clear: minorities must be protected from discrimination as laid out in Article 19 of the Treaty—and that includes sexual orientation. This is not an à la carte menu: it is at the core of the European Union, and we will be rigorous in its application.”

Edited on 8 February 2012