New EU accession reports: LGBT rights in South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and Iceland

The European Commission’s annual reports on accession countries were published yesterday, and include important information on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in those 9 countries. Both positive and negative developments are noted.

Enlargement countriesEuropean Commissioner Štefan Füle presented the 2012 enlargement reports to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. All reports except Kosovo’s mention the social and legal situation for LGBT people.

Positive and negative developments

No overall trend emerges from the reports. Both positive and negative developments are noted for most countries, and efforts by Croatian authorities ahead of the country’s accession on 1 July 2013 were welcomed.

Whilst Albania and Montenegro‘s legal frameworks were positively updated and governmental efforts are noted, Macedonia‘s anti-discrimination law stil falls short of EU standards in relation to sexual orientation.

Major occurences of intolerance against LGBT people, including threats and attacks, are noted in CroatiaSerbia and Turkey, with repeated harassment and aggressions of transgender people very high in Turkey. The report falls short of mentioning several murders of transgender people in Turkey.

Serbia is singled out for its problematic ban of Belgrade Pride and overall negative attitudes. LGBT people are still subject to violence and acute discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Finally, only positive developments are noted for Iceland.

European Parliament reports

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights and Rapporteur for Kosovo, commented: “This year’s progress reports paint the uneven picture of LGBT rights in South-Eastern Europe. I regret the Commission didn’t see fit to mention LGBT people in its report on Kosovo, as much remains to be done there too.”

“I look forward to continuing the good cooperation with the European Commission, and count on Commissioner Füle to strongly condemn negative attitudes and policies against LGBT people, like he did for Belgrade Pride.”

Jelko Kacin MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and Rapporteur for Serbia, continued: “Although I’m happy to see positive developments in Croatia, Albania and Montenegro, the situation in Serbia worries me greatly. Serbia is worth more than the way it treats LGBT people today, but the pride ban cannot be set aside.”

“The European Parliament will take this up extensively in our own reports.”

The European Parliament will now adopt its own accession reports over the next few months.

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