Plenary summary: COVID-19, Southern Neighbourhood, Article 7 concerning Hungary, fundamental rights on 2020-2021

EP Plenary

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

The impact of COVID-19 closures of educational, cultural, youth and sports activities on children and young people in the EU

On Monday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on The impact of COVID-19 closures of educational, cultural, youth and sports activities on children and young people in the EU (rapporteur: Hannes Heide, S&D). The report was adopted on Tuesday.

The European Parliament drew attention to the role played by schools and early childhood education and care institutions, as well as non-formal and informal learning institutions, in providing young people and their families with the necessary material and psychological support, and called on the Member States and regions to provide sufficient financial support to mainstream education institutions.

It highlighted in particular, the text mentions:

  • 15. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay special attention to children and young people who are particularly vulnerable, such as LGBTQ+ youth, racialised children and young people, and those with pre-existing mental health needs;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 45-46) (final votes (618): +522, -17, o79).

Recommendation to the Commission and the Commission Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – a new agenda for the Mediterranean

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated and adopted the Recommendation to the Commission and the Commission Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – a new agenda for the Mediterranean (rapporteur: Antonio López‑Istúriz White, EPP). 

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Commission and the HR/VP on the implementation of the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood, a new agenda for the Mediterranean, in particular:

  • I. support the implementation and ratification of international conventions to combat violence against women; work to ensure that all the Member States and the Southern Neighbourhood countries sign, ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention and CEDAW; taking note of the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 25 November 2020 on the third Gender Action Plan (GAP III) (JOIN(2020)0017) and the EU Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security, encourage all Southern Neighbourhood partners to eradicate, investigate and prevent gender-based violence and discrimination, and ensure the meaningful and equal active participation of women in all spheres of public life and decision-making, and the promotion of women’s rights; advocate the full implementation in all Southern Neighbourhood partner countries of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, which takes stock of the disproportionate impact of conflicts on women and girls and guides work and actions to promote gender equality and strengthen women’s participation, protection and rights throughout the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 188-189) (final votes (631): +488, -37, o106).

Proposal for a Council decision determining, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Proposal for a Council decision determining, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded (rapporteur: Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, G-EFA). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The report is an interim report on the Article 7 procedure. It highlights the current state of affairs in Hungary pertaining to a variety of policy areas and reiterates Parliament’s concern on the deterioration of those policy areas in Hungary. The right to equal treatment, including of LGBTI persons, is analysed in ¶CD-CR. 

Finally, the Parliament states:

  • 3. Deplores the inability of the Council to make meaningful progress in the ongoing Article 7(1) TEU procedure; […]; emphasises that there is no need for unanimity in the Council either to identify a clear risk of a serious breach of Union values under Article 7(1), or to address concrete recommendations to the Member States in question and provide deadlines for the implementation of those recommendations; reiterates its call for the Council to do so, underlining that any further delay to such action would amount to a breach of the rule of law principle by the Council itself; stresses that Member States have an obligation to act together and to put an end to the attacks on the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU; calls on the Council to issue recommendations to Hungary as soon as possible in order to remedy the issues mentioned in its resolution of 12 September 2018 and in the present resolution, asking it to implement all the judgments and recommendations mentioned […]; 
  • 4. Calls on the Council and the Commission to devote more attention to the systemic dismantling of the rule of law, as well as to the interplay between the various breaches of values identified in its resolutions; underlines that leaving rule of law breaches unchecked undermines democratic institutions and ultimately affects the human rights and lives of everyone in the country where those breaches are committed; stresses that the Union should defend all of the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU with equal determination; 

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 44-45) (final votes (584): +433, -123, o28).

Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2020 and 2021

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2020 and 2021 (rapporteur: Juan Fernando López Aguilar, S&D). The report was adopted on Thursday.

The report starts off by underlining the fact that the rule of law is a cornerstone of democracy and stressed that the rule of law and judicial independence in particular are critical for citizens’ ability to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedom. In particular, in ¶14, Parliament welcomes the infringement procedures launched against Poland and Hungary concerning LGBTIQ rights.

Sections dedicated to LGBTIQ rights include the section dedicated to ‘Equal treatment’ (¶25-50) and ‘Gender-based violence, women’s rights and the rights of LGBTIQ+’ (¶59-70), in particular the following:

  • 31. Condemns the increase in attacks on LGBTIQ people and urges the Member States and the Commission to take measures to put an end to these attacks and to guarantee effective equality for LGBTIQ people in all areas;
  • 32.  Condemns the approach taken by some EU governments to adopt legislation through fast-track procedures with no public consultations or even, in exceptional cases, constitutional changes as a means of legitimising discriminatory policies that could otherwise not be legislated upon, such as provisions specifically aimed at LGBTIQ persons; notes that the changes approved to the Hungarian constitution and the ‘anti‑LGBTIQ’ bill adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in June 2021 are notable examples of encroachment on the right to equal treatment and the principle of non‑discrimination; […]
  • 60.  Stresses the importance of combating gender-based violence in all its forms and advancing gender equality and women’s rights; […]; underlines the cross-border dimension of gender-based violence and insists that gender-based violence must be tackled at a European level; calls on the Commission to add gender‑based violence to the list of particularly serious crimes enshrined in Article 83(1) TFEU;
  • 65.  Calls on all Member States to respect the bodily autonomy of all people, in particular by banning intersex genital mutilation, so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices, and the forced sterilisation of trans people as a precondition for being granted legal gender recognition; reiterates that gender recognition laws should be adopted in accordance with international human rights standards, thereby making gender recognition accessible, affordable, administrative, quick and based on self-determination;
  • 66.  Stresses the need to recognise all partnerships for the purposes of freedom of movement, including for non-EU partners of EU nationals; is alarmed at the continuing non-implementation of the CJEU judgment in Case C-673/16, Coman and Hamilton, […] reiterates its call on the Commission to open infringement procedures over the non-implementation of the Coman and Hamilton case;
  • 67.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to publishing a proposal for a regulation in 2022 on the mutual recognition of parenthood between Member States, which will aim to create legal certainty for rainbow families across the EU;

Watch the plenary debate here.

Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 94-95) (final votes (583): +410, -131, o42).

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

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