Monday

21st May 2018

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.

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.

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.

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. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  2. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  3. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  4. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  5. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  6. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  7. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  8. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures