Plenary summary: 2021 report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, Digital Services Act, mental health, intersectional discrimination and abortion in the USA

During its July I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on some files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons: 

Digital Services Act

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Digital Services Act (rapporteur: Christel Schaldemose, S&D). The report was adopted on Tuesday.

The European Parliament voted in favour of the agreement reached during the first reading. It particular, the DSA obliges in the risk assessment article for providers of very large online platforms to diligently identify, analyse and assess any systemic risks stemming from the design, including algorithmic systems, functioning and use made of their services in the Union:

  • They shall carry out the risk assessments from the date of application, and at least once every year thereafter.
  • This risk assessment shall be specific to their services and proportionate to the systemic risks considering their severity and probability, and shall include the following systemic risks:
  • the dissemination of illegal content through their services;
  • any actual or foreseeable negative effects for the exercise of fundamental rights, in particular the fundamental rights to human dignity, respect for private and family life, the protection of personal data, freedom of expression and information, including the freedom and pluralism of the media, the prohibition of discrimination, the rights of the child and consumer protection;
  • any actual or foreseeable negative effects in relation to gender-based violence, the protection of public health, minors and serious negative consequences to the person’s physical and mental well-being.

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 5-6) (final votes (623): +539, -54, o30).

Mental Health in the Digital World of Work

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated and adopted the report on Mental Health in the Digital World of Work (rapporteur: Maria Walsh, EPP). 

The report recalls the effects of the COVID-19 on mental health, stressing that:

  • H.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the mental well-being of healthcare and long-term care workers – the majority of whom are women – as well as vulnerable populations including ethnic minorities, the LGBTIQ+ community, older people, single parents, persons with disabilities and pre-existing mental health issues, people of a lower socio-economic status, the unemployed, and people living in the outermost regions and remote, poorly connected areas; 
  • 13.  Recalls that proactive approaches to digitalisation, such as improving digital skills in the workplace or allowing for flexible working hours, can help to mitigate work-related stress; […] calls on the Commission and the Member States, in this regard, to devise a legislative proposal on AI in the workplace to ensure appropriate protection for workers’ rights and well-being, including their mental health and fundamental rights such as non-discrimination, privacy and human dignity in an increasingly digitalised workplace; notes that online harassment tends to have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable groups including younger, female and LGBTQI+ workers; […]

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 67-68) (final votes (633): +501, -47, o85).

2021 Commission Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the 2021 Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina (rapporteur: Paulo Rangel, EPP). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The report underscored that the pace of EU accession is determined by the implementation of reforms aimed at guaranteeing the due functioning of democratic institutions, grounded in the rule of law, good governance and fundamental rights. It also urged BiH and all of its political actors to show commitment and make significant steps towards EU membership. It stressed on LGBTIQ issues the following:

  • 67.  Calls for the harmonisation and effective enforcement of legislation on gender equality across the country and for the authorities to significantly improve the institutional response to gender-based violence […]; calls for the amendment of the criminal codes in the Federation of BiH and Brčko District to expand provisions against incitement to hatred and violence so that they include sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics as protected grounds;
  • 68.  Calls for the introduction of legislation to protect LGBTI+ persons, for the prosecution of violence and hate crimes against them, and for their social inclusion to be promoted; calls for the adoption of the Action Plan for Equality of LGBTI Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021-2023, which has been stalled since 2020; welcomes the conclusions of the Intersectoral Working Group on same-sex rights and partnership, which officially recommended the drafting of a law on same-sex partnerships; calls on the government to address this recommendation without delay;
  • 69.  Welcomes the peaceful organisation of the second Sarajevo Pride parade on 14 August 2021 and the fact that the Government of the Canton of Sarajevo covered its security costs; welcomes, likewise, the peaceful organisation of the third Sarajevo Pride parade on 25 June 2022; condemns, however, earlier counter-protests and statements, including from politicians, aimed at undermining the rights of LGBTI+ persons in BiH;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 43-44) (final votes (635): +479, -81, o75).

2021 Commission Report on Serbia

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the 2021 Report on Serbia (rapporteur: Vladimír Bilčík, EPP). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The report expressed support for Serbia’s future membership of the EU and recalled that a credible enlargement perspective requires political will, sustainable efforts and irreversible reforms in all areas, particularly those linked to the rule of law, as well as unwavering commitment to European standards and values. It stressed on LGBTIQ issues the following:

  • 56.  Regrets that in the previous parliamentary term, the National Assembly failed to adopt the Law on Same-Sex Partnerships which was drafted by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue; calls on the new and more pluralistic National Assembly to do so;
  • 57.  Calls on the Serbian authorities to step up efforts to ensure the non-discriminatory treatment of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and other vulnerable groups […]; urges the authorities to actively pursue investigations and convictions for hate-motivated crimes; condemns the ethnic hatred spread by some government officials and politicians;
  • 59.  Condemns the manipulation of the fragmentation of minority groups and expresses its concern at the unwillingness of the Serbian authorities to consistently and fully implement the intergovernmental agreement on the protection of minorities; notes that more has to be done to actively implement anti-discrimination legislation;
  • 60.  Welcomes the commitment of the Serbian authorities to support the organisation of EuroPride in Belgrade as a key moment for the LGBTI+ community in Serbia and the region; calls on the Government and police forces to ensure smooth planning and organisation of the programme, as well as the safety and well-being of participants; calls for increased measures to combat harassment, hate propaganda and hate crimes against LGBTI + people;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 45-46) (final votes (625): +523, -78, o34).

2021 Commission Report on Kosovo

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the 2021 Report on Kosovo (rapporteur: Viola Von Cramon‑Taubadel, G-EFA). The report was adopted on Wednesday.

The report welcomed Kosovo’s continued commitment to advance on EU-related reforms and the overwhelming consensus among political parties on and public support for European integration and embracing a European identity. It noted the government’s strong majority in the Kosovo Parliament following the general elections and called on the government to make use of its stable majority to urgently advance the necessary reforms. Particularly, on LGBTIQ issues, it mentioned:

  • 29.  Regrets the Kosovo Assembly’s failure to adopt the draft Civil Code at the first reading, and calls for its adoption once the Civil Code is again submitted to the plenary, which would bring much-needed progress for Kosovo citizens, in particular in improving the conditions of the most vulnerable parts of Kosovo society, especially women, children and LGBTI+ persons, and would have a positive impact on the economic development of Kosovo; expresses its support for the inclusion of same-sex partnerships in the legislation, in line with the Kosovo constitution;
  • 30.  Is concerned that while legislation and policies for LGBTI+ persons have progressed, implementation is lacking; condemns all discriminatory and degrading speech against the LGBTI+ community, including by some high-level politicians; calls, in this regard, for the Kosovar leadership to more publicly promote fundamental human rights for all citizens, including LGBTI+ people;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 59-60) (final votes (637): +469, -96, o72).

Intersectional discrimination in the European Union: the socio-economic situation of women of African, Middle-Eastern, Latin-American and Asian descent

Members of the European Parliament voted the reporto on Intersectional discrimination in the European Union: the socio-economic situation of women of African, Middle-Eastern, Latin-American and Asian descent(rapporteur: Alice Ban Kuhnke, G-EFA)

The report stressed the need for EU policymaking to address and eliminate intersecting forms of discrimination, including through EU anti-discrimination and gender equality legislation and policies. It called for the policies and actions under the Union of Equality to be strengthened, enhanced and adapted if necessary and for an EU framework on intersectional discrimination with cross-cutting objectives and measures to be promoted. Further, it recognised the need to mainstream equality and gender equality into EU policies and create inclusive solutions that protect the most marginalised and those facing intersectional discrimination in our communities.

 Particularly, on LGBTIQ issues, it mentioned:

  • 13.  Recalls that the principle of equal treatment for men and women cannot be confined to the prohibition of discrimination based on a person’s given sex, and that it also applies to discrimination arising from a person’s gender identity; recalls that the Court of Justice of the European Union has interpreted sex discrimination within the principle of equal treatment as encompassing transgender persons who have undergone a medical transition, yet notes that no such judgments have been issued concerning non-binary or intersex persons, questioning the utility and capacity of EU non-discrimination legislation for the large trans population in Europe who cannot or will not access gender affirmation health care or for intersex persons; […] calls on the Commission to come up with a legislative proposal that avoids any risk of legal uncertainty in this matter;
  • 50.  Encourages the Member States to ensure accessible and transparent legal gender recognition procedures based on self-determination and in line with the World Health Organization’s ICD-11, to recognise trans, non-binary and intersex people in law and to abolish barriers such as mandatory surgical interventions or mandatory psychological counselling; urges the Member States to ban intersex genital mutilation and to ensure that intersex infants are not subjected to non-vital medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood;

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 73-74) (final votes (629): +438, -133, o58).

Resolution on the US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and women’s heath in the EU

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Resolution on the US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and women’s heath in the EU. The resolution was adopted on Thursday.

The resolution strongly condemned once again the backsliding in women’s rights and SRHR taking place globally, including in the US and in some EU Member States and recalled that SRHR are fundamental human rights which should be protected and enhanced and cannot in any way be watered down or withdrawn. In particular, it stated:

  • 2.  Proposes to include the right to abortion in the Charter; considers that a proposal should be submitted to the Council to amend the Charter as follows:

Article 7a (new):”“Article 7a – Right to abortion – Everyone has the right to safe and legal abortion;”

  • 5.  Is deeply concerned about the fact that bans and other restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect women in poverty, in particular racialised women, including Black women, Hispanic women and Indigenous women, as well as women from rural areas, LGBTIQ people, women with disabilities, adolescents, migrant women, including irregular migrants, and single-parent households headed by women; stresses that women who, owing to financial or logistical barriers, cannot afford to travel to reproductive health clinics in neighbouring states or countries, are at greater risk of undergoing unsafe and life-threatening procedures, and of being forced to carry their pregnancy to term against their will, which is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based violence.

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 109-110) (final votes (517): +324, -155, o38).

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