Intergroup event: LGBT rights in EU Member States since the 2004 accession

The Intergroup on LGBT Rights met yesterday in Strasbourg to discuss LGBT people’s fundamental rights in ‘newer’ EU Member States (those having joined after 2004). Members of the European Parliament came to discuss the situation for LGBT people in Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania. A representative from the office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights was also present to give an overview.

Poster: LGBT rights in EU Member States since the 2004 accession

Event report

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup, opened the meeting by welcoming guests and looking back on a 2001 Intergroup meeting looking at “A public hearing on the position of lesbian women and gay men in the EU accession states”, then organised by Joke Swiebel MEP.

Listen to her introduction:
1 – Introduction (Ulrike Lunacek, 2:26)

Dennis van der Veur, currently Adviser to the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe and author of the report “EU enlargement: A gay perspective. Report on the position of lesbian women and gay men in EU accession countries (2001)”, presented a wider perspective from the Council of Europe.

Download his presentation (PDF):
IGM 7.6 Dennis van der Veur presentation (PDF)

Monika Flašíková Beňová, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, presented the situation for LGBT rights in Slovakia. Despite progress since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1962, she was concerned that current government parties did not actively seek to protect the human rights of LGBT people.

Listen to her speech:
3 – Slovakia (Monika Flasikova Benova, 5:49)

Leonidas Donskis, Member of the European Parliament from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, discussed recent political evolutions in Lithuania. Mr Donskis highlighted that Lithuania had not always so strongly condemned sexual minorities, and that the current situation was caused by “awful, absolutely preposterous” populist parties in mainstream national politics. Mr Donskis shared his view that there was growing strong criticism of current national policies, gaining pace among younger politicians and intellectuals.

Listen to his speech:
4 – Lithuania (Leonidas Donskis, 10:13)

Kinga Göncz, Member of the European Parliament from Socialists & Democrats, described the situation in Hungary in the light of the upcoming new constitution. She explained that Hungary had previously been progressive on individual freedoms, and that indeed some aspects of Hungarian law go beyond EU minimum standards. However, she also feared for the upcoming constitution.

Listen to her speech:
5 – Hungary (Kinga Göncz, 8:20)

Finally Monica Macovei, a Member of the European Parliament in the European People’s Party from Romania, presented a rather encouraging picture of the social and legal situation in the country compared to criminal same-sex acts as late as 1990 and her time as Minister of Justice.

Listen to her speech:
6 – Romania (Monica Macovei, 3:53)