Juncker I Commission – Jourová commits to LGBTI Action Plan; Navracsics rejected over fundamental rights

Between 29 September and 7 October 2014 the European Parliament is conducting interviews with the candidate Commissioners.

On Wednesday 1 October, the Parliament heard candidate Commissioner for Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality, Věra Jourová (Czech Republic) and candidate Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth & Citizenship, Tibor Navracsics (Hungary). Doubting their capacities, the Parliament decided to sent additional written questions, which resulted in the rejection of Mr Navracsics.

Candidate Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová

JourováMs Jourová’s portfolio includes key areas for LGBTI rights, such as the adoption of a horizontal directive banning discrimination outside of employment and the potential development of an LGBTI roadmap, as requested by the Parliament.

Referring to the anti-discrimination directive, Jourová stated that this would be a priority.

In response to additional written questions asking her vision on the roadmap, Jourová indicated that “we need a straightforward and concrete action plan in cooperation with the Member States.”

She committed to work together with Vice-President designate Timmermans to bring this forward. Furthermore, the candidate Commissioner said she would be in favour of using additional instruments, such as awareness raising campaigns.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designated, reacted to the hearing by Ms Jourová: “The Parliament has long fought for a Roadmap on LGBTI Rights. In the past legislature, we asked for this over ten times -but it fell on deaf ears.”

“I am very glad that Commissioner designate Jourová has committed to work on an LGBTI action plan and look forward to cooperating with her on that.”

Candidate Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth & Citizenship Tibor Navracsics

As commissioner-designate responsible for Education, Culture, Youth & Citizenship, Mr Navracsics’ portfolio is of great symbolic value. The portfolio includes the management of significant funds, i.a. the Erasmus Programme and the Europe for Citizens Programme.

NavracsicsNavracsics’ candidature for the portfolio was particularly disputed by parliamentarians. He served as a Minister at a time when Hungary adopted restrictive media laws, the church gained more influence in education and NGOs suffered increasing restrictions.

Being confronted with this, Navracsics underlined he believes firmly in the values entrenched in Article 2 TEU, i.e. human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Furthermore, he stated that “if there were anti-European trends in Hungarian education system, I would fight against it.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup-designate, reacted: “It was a rather cynical move to put Mr Navracsics exactly at this position.”

“As Member of the Hungarian government since 2010, he carries direct responsibility for the clampdown on NGOs and the church’s growing influence in education. How can we ever trust him on important topics like Education, Media and Citizenship?”

“Yesterday the Culture and Education Committee of the Parliament decided to reject him for this portfolio, but not as a member of the Commission. I would have thought that having served as a Deputy Prime Minister to Orban, would be enough to dismiss him from the Commission as a whole.”