Monday

21st May 2018

Catalonia passes historic anti-homophobia law

Catalonia’s new anti-homophobe legislation could see offenders fined up to €14,000 for attacks carried out against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGTB).

The Catalan chamber passed the bill on Thursday (2 October) in what has been described as a first in Spain.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Without sanctions, this law would be a mere statement of intent. This is meant as a deterrent,” Anna Simo, of the leftist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), was quoted as saying in El Pais.

The legislation requires a person accused of homophobia to prove their innocence in a twist which has drawn criticism from the autonomous community’s Catholic base and conservative political groups alike.

Bishops of Catalonia over the weekend expressed some reservations that the law could also erode a person’s presumption of innocence.

The conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalists of Unio had vetoed the law but were outnumbered by the Catalan socialists and other left wing groups.

A global survey published by Pew Research over the summer suggests Spain appears to be the country most accepting of homosexuality worldwide. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed agreed that "homosexuality should be accepted".

Same sex couples have also been allowed to marry since 2005.

At the same time, the EU-funded European Men to Men Internet Survey showed that 40 percent of gay respondents and 45 percent of bisexual respondents in Spain had suffered violence or intimidation within a year of the survey.

“I feel furious when someone appears to deny or play down the discrimination that we gays have suffered or run the risk of suffering,” Miquel Iceta, a Catalan socialist, was cited as saying in the Spanish press.

The European Commission, for its part, has been reluctant to formulate an EU-wide policy to combat homophobia and to protect the rights of the LGBT community.

Pro-gay rights groups, MEPs and 11 EU ministers are pressing the commission to come up with a proposal.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament passed a resolution for the EU legislator to come up with a roadmap in order to ensure LGBT people are treated equally throughout the 28-member bloc.

Asked about putting forward a roadmap during her grilling by MEPs last week, EU justice commissioner-designate Vera Jourova said the EU’s broad anti-discrimination directive was good enough.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

Gay rights under threat in divided Europe

From same-sex marriage in Malta to horrors in Azerbaijan - survey shows huge disparities on gay rights in Europe, amid "stagnating" progress and populist threats.

Austria accused of undermining new EU data law

Most EU states have yet to pass the national laws needed to equip authorities with the resources to enforce the upcoming EU general data protection regulation. Austria, previously deemed a leader for high data standards, appears increasingly wary.

Opinion

Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  2. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  3. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  4. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  5. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  6. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures
  7. How France escaped EU legal action over chemical ban
  8. 'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit