Plenary summary: accession to Istanbul Convention, 2022 reports on Serbia and Kosovo and resolution on the Porto Social Summit
During its May I plenary session, the European Parliament Plenary debated and voted on several files that relate to the human rights of LGBTI persons:
- 2022 Commission Report on Serbia – Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
- 2022 Commission Report on Kosovo – Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – EU accession: institutions and public administration of the Union – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).
- Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence with regard to matters related to judicial cooperation in criminal matters, asylum and non-refoulement – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).
- Resolution on a roadmap towards a social Europe – two years after the Porto Social Summit
- (Note: For a complete list of all texts (and specific paragraphs) in this legislature touching upon LGBTI issues, check our List of resources available here.)
On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on the 2022 Commission Report on Serbia (rapporteur: Vladimír Bilčík (EPP)). The report was adopted on Wednesday.
The Parliament welcomed the fact that EU membership continues to be Serbia’s strategic goal and in this context welcomes the appointment of the new Minister for European Integration; underlines the fact that progress on the rule of law and fundamental rights, functioning of democratic institutions, commitment to shared European rights and values, and the normalisation and de-escalation of relations with Kosovo will determine the dynamics of the accession process, as set out in the Negotiating Framework. It equally underlined, in this context, the importance of EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP) alignment, especially with regard to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
On LGBTIQ issues, it mentioned:
- 56. Reiterates its concerns about violence by extremist groups and encourages the Serbian authorities to step up their efforts to ensure the non-discriminatory treatment of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and other vulnerable groups, and to ensure the swift processing of investigations into and convictions for hate-motivated crimes and discrimination cases against women, ethnic minorities, the LGBTIQ community, refugees, displaced persons and persons with disabilities;
- 62. Calls for a more comprehensive response to all violence against women, as covered by the Istanbul Convention;
- 63. Welcomes the organisation of the first-ever EuroPride march in south-east Europe, which took place in Belgrade; regrets, however, the contradictory and unclear communication by the Serbian authorities, including the initial ban on the march;condemns the vilification of the EuroPride organisers and participants by some members of the government and some media favourably reporting on the government; deplores all verbal attacks and threats against the EuroPride organisers and participants in the weeks leading up to the event; notes with concern that the investigation and prosecution of and the penalties for hate speech, threats and attacks against members of the LGBTIQ community are often inadequate, and calls for increased measures to combat hate crimes against LGBTIQ people; calls for the Draft Law on Same-Sex Unions to be submitted to the parliament;
On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the report on Kosovo (rapporteur: Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA)). The report was adopted on Wednesday.
The Parliament welcomed Kosovo’s application for EU membership, which reflects the continued pro-European orientation of its citizens, an overwhelming cross-party consensus on EU integration and a clear geopolitical strategic choice. It also called on the Member States to give the Commission a mandate to present the questionnaire without further delay and to prepare an opinion on the merits of the country’s application and called for European institutions to provide institutional support for reforms improving the daily lives of Kosovar citizens.
On LGBTIQ issues, it mentioned:
- 39. Deplores the many cases of femicide and gender-based and sexual violence, including against minors; calls on the police, courts and government to step up their efforts to combat domestic and gender-based violence and improve the protective and preventive measures in place, including through an increase of the number of gender-sensitive law enforcement agents and judges, sustainable public support for women’s shelters and legal aid to victims; urges the effective implementation of the national strategy against domestic and gender-based violence and calls on the government to adopt the law on prevention of and protection against domestic violence, violence against women and gender-based violence without delay;
- 41. Calls on the Government of Kosovo and the recently established Council for Democracy and Human Rights to increase their efforts towards combating gender-based discrimination and to improve human and administrative capacities in order to enhance the implementation of the Law on Gender Equality; underlines the importance of education in the fight against gender-based discrimination; stresses the need for relevant stakeholders to take tangible actions aimed at achieving gender mainstreaming in all policies and measures, as well as at promoting and advancing gender equality and the implementation of the requirements of the Istanbul Convention;
- 47. Reiterates its call on the competent authorities to continue working on the civil code that is in line with the Constitution, the EU acquis, European standards and international practices, and to ensure it is adopted without further delay; stresses the importance of ensuring rights for all people in Kosovo and including same-sex marriage in the civil code to safeguard respect for constitutional rights and opportunities for the LGBTIQ+ community;
Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – EU accession
On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the recommendation on the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence – EU accession (rapporteurs: Łukasz Kohut (EPP) and Arba Kokalari (EPP)). The consent was granted on Wedensday.
Consent was granted to:
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence with regard to institutions and public administration of the Union – Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 277-278) (final votes (607): +472, -62, o73).
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence with regard to matters related to judicial cooperation in criminal matters, asylum and non-refoulement – Consult the results of the roll-call final vote here (page 279-280) (final votes (590): +464, -81, o45).
On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the resolution on the roadmap towards social Europe – two years after the Porto Social Summit (rapporteur: Dragoş PÎSLARU (Renew Europe)). The resolution was adopted on Thursday.
The Parliament reiterated the importance of the adoption of the conclusions of the 2021 Porto Social Summit, which underline that we are still living in unprecedented times and noted that COVID-19 and the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine on our doorstep resulted in the cost of living and energy crises, which are hitting the most vulnerable groups in our society the hardest, leading to increasing inequalities. It reiterated the importance of the EPSR as a guiding compass to a more social Europe and welcomed its action plan in this regard, further calling on the Commission and the Member States to use social innovation as a key driver for addressing socioeconomic challenges and urges them to take into account.
On LGBTIQ issues, it mentioned:
- 12. Reiterates its call for the Council to adopt the horizontal non-discrimination directive, which has been pending since 2008, in order to fully implement principle 3 of the EPSR (equal opportunities) and the promises of the EU’s founding Treaties with regard to equal treatment;
- 25. Calls for the stronger integration of the EPSR action plan with related strategies, including the EU Roma strategic framework, the gender equality strategy, the strategy on combating homelessness and the anti-racism strategy;