• EU commission president candidates are backing an EU-wide strategy for gay rights (Photo: -Marlith-)

Letter

Growing momentum for EU strategy on LGBTI Rights

23.05.14 @ 09:40

  1. By Juris Lavrikovs

BRUSSELS - In an article earlier this week by EUobserver, four top candidates for the next president of the European Commission – Jean-Claude Juncker, Ska Keller, Martin Schulz and Guy Verhofstadt, expressed their support for an EU strategy on LGBTI human rights.

This is a significant development. The candidates for the top EU post know that everything they say just days ahead of the European elections is closely scrutinised and documented.

And we most certainly take a note of their statements. Together with members of the European Parliament, ILGA-Europe has been advocating for such a strategy for years.

In May 2013, we gained the support of 11 EU member states who signed a call to the European Commission to adopt a comprehensive European strategy on the human rights of LGBT people.

Viviane Reding, then vice-president of the European Commission and a commissioner responsible for fundamental rights, dismissed the call, saying the commission was already doing a lot for LGBTI people.

On 14 May of this year, two more EU member states joined the group of supportive governments, bringing the number of governments who call on the commission to adopt an LGBTI Roadmap to 13.

A few weeks ago, even Reding, a top EPP candidate during 2014 European elections, adhered to the idea of an EU LGBTI Roadmap by signing our European elections pledge.

So the momentum is definitely growing.

We look forward to the EU finally adopting this much-needed strategy on tackling homophobia, transphobia and discrimination against LGBTI people within its own borders in the near future.

Whoever is elected as the next European Commission president, we look forward to working with her or him and to holding them to their promise!

The writer is communications manager at the Brussels-based ILGA-Europe, the EU umbrella organisation for the rights of LGBTI people