European Parliament adopts EU financial package on rights and equality for 2014-2020

Today the European Parliament has adopted the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014-2020. The €439 million programme will contribute to combating homophobia and discrimination against transsexual persons.
The programme merges three separate programmes that ran between 2007 and 2013: Fundamental Rights and EU Citizenship, Daphne III, and two chapters of the PROGRESS programme for employment and social solidarity.

Despite an overall decrease in the EU’s budget compared to the previous seven-year period, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme will suffer a lower reduction in resources than average.

When negotiating this programme with EU Member States, the European Parliament insisted on including the fight against homophobia as a specific objective, along with racism and xenophobia.

The fund will be used to combat discrimination on all grounds mentioned in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, including sexual orientation and sex.

The Programme will specify that discrimination on grounds of sex includes transgender people who are planning to undergo or have undergone gender reassignment surgery, in line with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Programme will also have regard to aspects related to gender in the Court’s jurisprudence, including gender identity.

Raül Romeva i Rueda, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “I am extremely happy that this Programme will contribute to the fight against homophobia and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people. More than ever before, the EU is giving itself the means to live up to its goal, including to protect the rights of all citizens.”

Kinga Göncz MEP, author of the report and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “The results of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s LGBT survey show that only between a fifth and half of all LGBT people in the EU report discrimination or harassment, depending on whether it’s generally, in employment, or in access to goods and services.”

“The resources of this Programme will be used to ensure all Europeans can exercise their right to equal treatment and non-discrimination.”