Plenary summary: Rule of Law conditionality mechanism, new EU-Africa Strategy and progress reports on Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia

During its March II plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Application of the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism

On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament adopted the resolution on the application of the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism.

The resolution wraps up the debate held in the March I plenary session. The text of the resolution states the following:

  • underlines the importance of the direct applicability of the Regulation since 1 January 2021, particularly in the context of the disbursement of the NextGenerationEU funds which will occur early in the budget cycle; (¶1)
  • Recalls that according to Article 2 of the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, the rule of law ‘refers to the Union value enshrined in Article 2 TEU’, and ‘includes the principles of legality implying a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic law-making process; legal certainty; prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers; effective judicial protection, including access to justice, by independent and impartial courts, also as regards fundamental rights; separation of powers; and non-discrimination and equality before the law’; recalls further that ‘the rule of law shall be understood having regard to the other Union values and principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU’; (¶4)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 386-387).

The new EU-Africa Strategy

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on the New EU-Africa Strategy(rapporteure: Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Renew Europe). The report was adopted.

The report welcomes the joint communication ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ and sees it as a step towards a truly geopolitical partnership, while underlining that Europe and Africa are in close geographical proximity and have strong, historical, cultural and socio-economic ties, which are being strengthened by the increase in their shared challenges and strategic interests. In particular, the report:

  • Calls for human development to be placed at the heart of the strategy to ensure that no one is left behind, with priority given to addressing poverty, inequalities and discrimination, and ensuring democracy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights for all, paying particular attention to the most marginalised and vulnerable populations; (…) (¶31)
  • Stresses the fact that access to and respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights are a crucial component of the EU-Africa partnership; (…) calls on the Commission to prioritise sexual and reproductive health and rights in the new EU-Africa partnership (…) (¶48)
  • Is concerned about the persistent violence and discrimination against LGBTI people, notably concerning access to healthcare, and calls for the two continents to step up their efforts to protect their rights; (¶50)

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 396-397) (final votes (687): +460, -64, o119)

Reports on Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia

On Thursday, the Plenary debated and adopted the following 2019-2020 annual reports. 

ALBANIA

The report on Albania states the following:

  • Expresses its support for inclusive policies and calls for progress to be made in adopting measures to effectively protect the fundamental freedoms and rights of all people, with a special focus on women, children, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons; (¶28)
  • Welcomes the update of the country’s anti-discrimination legislation and calls on the authorities to step up efforts to establish solid anti-discrimination case law; urges the authorities to ensure the effective prevention and prosecution of hate speech and hate crimes, including antisemitism; (¶30)
  • Notes that Albania’s 2016-2020 National Action Plan for LGBTI Issues has expired and calls on the government to develop a new action plan through a transparent and inclusive consultation with civil society, and to ensure appropriate resources are assigned for its implementation; calls on the Albanian authorities to foster social acceptance of LGBTQI+ persons, who still regularly experience discrimination and hate speech; welcomes the decision to eliminate ‘conversion therapy’, which is unacceptable, thereby strengthening the right to gender identity and gender expression; (¶31)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Paragraph ¶31 carried two split votes, which you can check here. Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the splits here (page 93-96)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 403-404) (final votes (687): +581, -61, o45)

KOSOVO

The report on Kosovo states the following:

  • Welcomes the progress on the protection of LGBTI rights at the legislative and policy level; notes, however, the need for full implementation of the current anti-discrimination framework, and calls for the proper investigation of cases of hate crime against LGBTI persons; calls on the government to include same-sex partnerships in the draft Civil Code, as guaranteed by the country’s Constitution; (¶54)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Paragraph ¶54 carried two split votes, which you can check here. Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the splits here (page 157-160)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 405-406) (final votes (684): +471, -109, o104)

NORTH MACEDONIA

The report on North Macedonia states the following:

  • Notes with concern the widespread hate speech, including on social media, particularly towards Roma, LGBTI+ persons and other vulnerable groups, countries and peoples; calls for the effective implementation of the relevant regulatory framework, ensuring a clear distinction between free public debate and hate speech, defamation or incitement to violence, stepping up prosecution capacities for protection from hate crimes, hate speech and gender-based violence; is concerned about cases of police brutality against vulnerable communities; (¶38)
  • Welcomes positive steps towards institutional support for the advancement of the human rights of LGBTI+ persons, but notes that discrimination of the LGBTI+ community remains a prevalent problem, and that implementation of the regulatory framework by state institutions should be prioritised; calls for increased action to fight hate speech and hate crimes against LGBTI+ persons, encourage reporting of these crimes and stop impunity; (¶39)
  • Welcomes the renewed adoption of anti-discrimination legislation by all political parties, and welcomes the transparent process of appointment of the  Commission for Protection from Discrimination, ensuring protection and inclusion of all marginalised groups; encourages the Sobranie to adopt legislation which will enable a simplified, transparent and accessible procedure for legal gender recognition based on self-determination, and prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity; notes the organisation of the first ever Skopje Pride in June 2019; (¶40)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Paragraph ¶39 carried one amendment (AM1), which you can check here. Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the amendment here (page 211-212)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 407-408) (final votes (687): +558, -70, o59)

SERBIA

The report on Serbia states the following:

  • Underlines the need to continue protecting LGBTI rights; calls for more adequate and effective responses from the authorities to hate speech and hate-motivated crimes; welcomes the peaceful conduct of two pride parades in 2019; stresses the importance for all institutions of supporting the preparation of EuroPride 2022 and ensuring the safety of all participants; (¶60)
  • Welcomes the government’s initiative to move forward with the law on same-sex unions and changes of name and gender of transgender persons in accordance with the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and calls on the government to create a safe environment for LGBTI persons and promote a culture of tolerance towards them; (¶61)
  • Urges Serbia to improve access to healthcare services for people with disabilities, people living with HIV, children and adults who use drugs, prisoners, sex workers, LGBTI persons, internally displaced persons and Roma, particularly in view of the ongoing pandemic and problems in the health sector; (¶62)

Watch the plenary interventions here.

Paragraph ¶59 carried two split votes, which you can check here. Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the split votes here (page 321-324) ++ Paragraph ¶60 carried one amendment (AM7), which you can check here. Consult the results of the roll-call votes on the amendment here (page 325-326)

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 409-410) (final votes (686): +538, -69, o79)

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *