Plenary summary: EU Association Agreement with Moldova, reports on Albania, North Macedonia, and Rule of Law in the EU

EP Plenary

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

Implementation of the EU association agreement with the Republic of Moldova

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Annual implementing report on the EU association agreement with the Republic of Moldova (rapporteur: Dragoş Tudorache, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The European Parliament is continuing its regular scrutiny of the implementation of the EU-Moldova in order to assess the progress achieved and to provide guidance for the next steps to be taken. Concerning the situation of LGBTIQ people

  • 51. Welcomes the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) by the Parliament of Moldova on 14 October 2021; […]
  • 52.  Underlines the importance of further strengthening the legal framework for equality and non-discrimination, in particular by closing the existing legislative gaps in order to address discrimination in employment, effectively counteract hate crimes and hate speech and further protect the rights of minorities, including Roma, LGBTI persons and immigrants; calls on Moldova to abolish the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage put in place in 1994 and to establish anti-discrimination measures for LGBTI persons;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 13-14) (final votes (570): +512, -43, o39).

2021 Commission Report on Albania

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the 2021 Commission Report on Albania (rapporteur:Isabel Santos, S&D). The resolution was adopted on Thursday.

The report addresses Albania’s progress on the process towards EU accession, emphasising in particular:

  • 22. Urges the relevant bodies to systematically and proactively prevent, swiftly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute all instances of offline and online hate speech, hate crimes, verbal and physical attacks and intimidation, including against journalists, human rights defenders and people belonging to vulnerable and minority groups, such as LGBTI+ or Roma people, to ensure their safety and security; encourages the office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination to be more proactive in combating discriminatory hate speech, in particular against LGBTI+ persons, and to develop disaggregated data collection on the matter; encourages the government to consider defining hate speech in its criminal code;
  • 25. Considers that the reported doubling of HIV infections since last year is highly concerning; recalls that the national strategy for people living with HIV expired in 2020; calls on the government to take appropriate measures, in liaison with civil society, to address the rising numbers of HIV infections and ensure access to healthcare for those most vulnerable;
  • 26. Commends the adoption of the new 2021-2027 LGBTI+ national action plan and encourages its full implementation and proper budgeting via a coordination and monitoring body that would oversee it; […]

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 37-38) (final votes (599): +519, -52, o28).

2021 Report on North Macedonia

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the 2021 Commission Report on North Macedonia ( rapporteur: Ilhan Kyuchyu, Renew Europe). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The report reiterates its clear support for North Macedonia’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law, underpinned by its strategic pro-European orientation, unwavering commitment to European values, EU-related reforms and the process of EU integration, and good neighbourly relations and inclusive regional cooperation. It also regrets the Council’s failure to officially open long overdue accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. Concerning LGBTIQ rights, it mentions the following:

  • 33. Urges the relevant bodies to proactively prevent and systematically prosecute all instances of hate speech, hate crimes and intimidation, to thoroughly investigate related attacks and to ensure the safety and security of their targets, such as journalists, people belonging to minorities and other vulnerable groups; reiterates its call for the relevant authorities to improve institutional capacities to prevent and combat hate speech, hate crime and discrimination on any grounds in accordance with international standards;
  • 35. Is concerned by the stark increase in misinformation and discriminatory speech against LGBTI+ people and human rights defenders in the media and political discourse; condemns harassment, hate speech, hate crimes and death threats levelled at LGBTI+ people and rights defenders and urges the full investigation and sanctioning of these incidents;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (pages 31-32) (final votes (599): +508, – 56, o35) 

Commission’s  2021 Rule of Law Report

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Commission’s 2021 Rule of Law Report(rapporteur: Terry Reintke, G-EFA). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The text welcomes the Commission’s second Rule of Law report, yet regrets the fact that the Commission did not address in full the recommendations made by Parliament in its resolution of 24 June 2021 on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of Law Report. Equally, it welcomes the fact that the functioning of justice systems, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism and certain institutional issues related to checks and balances, including civic space to a certain extent, are all part of the Commission’s annual report; yet, it regrets that not all rule of law issues were covered in sufficient detail or breadth in the 2021 report.

Concerning LGBTIQ rights:

  • 38. Stresses with concern the fact that women and people in vulnerable situations, including persons with disabilities, children, religious minorities, particularly at a time of rising antisemitism, antigypsyism and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe, Romani people, people of African and Asian descent and other persons belonging to ethnic and linguistic minorities, migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, LGBTIQ persons and elderly people, especially people living in marginalised settlements, continue to see their rights not being fully respected across the Union and continue to be subjected to discriminatory practices
  • 41. Welcomes the infringement procedures initiated by the Commission in relation to Hungary and Poland as part of the July 2021 infringement package concerning respect for the human rights of LGBTIQ persons and breaches of Union law; notes that this is the first time the Commission has specifically initiated infringement procedures to safeguard the rights of LGBTIQ persons;
  • 58. Is concerned about the Commission’s 2021 Rule of Law Report’s findings that, in some countries, the state-sponsored harassment and intimidation of LGBTIQ organisations affects their ability to access funding; calls on the Commission to assess the issue more closely and to ensure through the necessary means that the non-discrimination principle governing access to Union funds is fully complied with everywhere in the Union; considers that these findings reinforce Parliament’s long-standing position that the scope of the rule of law report should be broadened to include all Article 2 TEU values;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 17-18) (final votes ( +429, -131, o34).

For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.