Monday

27th May 2019

EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists

  • General Court of the European Union says the European Commission committed 'no error in its assessment of the legal situation.' (Photo: katarina_dzurekova)

The European Commission was right to deny demands by anti-abortion activists to launch new legislation - despite their successful citizen initiative bid on the subject, Europe's top judges have ruled.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Monday (23 April) ruled a European citizen's initiative cannot require the commission to submit a proposal for a legal act.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The ruling follows a legal challenge by the Belgium-based "One of US" campaign. In 2014 it demanded the EU stop financing the destruction of human embryos.

The commission refused to act given, in part, that research into embryonic stem cells offer potential for life-saving treatments. "One of US" then pressed the case at Luxembourg-court, which they lost.

"A contrary interpretation would result in the commission being stripped of all discretion in exercising its powers of legislative initiative following a European citizens' initiative," said the court.

The campaign had amassed some 1.7 million signatures.

Of those, around 235,000 came from Poland alone, whose conservative government earlier this year introduced a bill to tighten abortion laws. The predominately Catholic country already has some of the toughest abortion laws in Europe.

"One of US" says any verdict that challenged its demands would amount to discrimination and render the citizen's initiative meaningless.

The campaign, which describes itself as an international federation rooted in common Christian values, is supported by right-wing Polish MEP Marek Jurek.

Jurek heads the Right of the Republic, a Polish Christian conservative party that aims to ban abortion and introduce capital punishment.

Opinion

EU's 'old men' must pressure Poland on abortion rights

Despite fresh crackdowns on Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, EU commission president Juncker did not raise the issue with the new Polish PM Morawiecki - perhaps because it was an all-male event?

Focus

Council of Europe warns on backlash to abortion access

In recent years, proposals for bans and restrictions on voluntary terminations have risen in some EU member states - as well as bills proposing more 'conditions' before women are allowed to access abortions.

Norway plays politics with abortion laws

Norway's conservative prime minister, Erna Solberg, has proposed tightening the country's abortion laws, in a political gambit that goes against Europe's liberal trend.

Europol busts global cybercrime gang

A loose network of cyber criminals recruited from an online Russian forum managed to infect thousands of computers in an effort to steal online banking credentials. The gang has been dismantled, with some now on the run.

News in Brief

  1. Russia-critical banker elected president of Lithuania
  2. Timmermans calls for 'progressive alliance'
  3. Catalonia's Puigdemont wins MEP seat
  4. Weber opens door to alliance with greens and liberals
  5. Tsipras calls snap Greek election after EP defeat
  6. Polish ruling PiS takes lion's share of EU vote
  7. Romanian voters punish ruling PSD party
  8. First official EP projection: EPP remain top, Greens fourth

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us