22nd Feb 2020


Baltic Gay Pride re-instated by Lithuania's top court

  • The commission made it clear it was concerned about the lower court's ruling (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Lithuania's Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Friday that Baltic Pride, a gay rights rally planned for Saturday in the capital, Vilnius, would be able to go ahead after all, overturning a ban by a lower court.

The move comes after the European Commission made it known its concerns about the earlier decision's threat to fundamental freedoms.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Jonathan Faull, director-general of the European Commission's justice, freedom and security department had written to the country's ambassador to the EU, noting: "The commission is concerned about the recent developments."

"Respecting fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, is an obligation imposed on member states by their own constitutional order and international obligations," he wrote.

EU justice spokesman Matthew Newman told EUobserver that the EU executive had been following the situation very closely.

"Even though the commission has no legal authority to intervene in how member states organise laws on public meetings, member states must respect fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and assembly as required by their own constitutional order and international obligations," he said.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights only covers acts performed by the EU institutions and member states in their application of EU law. Beyond these two realms, member states remain free to act as they wish.

Her spokesman said of the justice and fundamental rights commissioner, Viviane Reding: "Gay rights are a real issue for her."

Underscoring her support for the march, Ms Reding spoke via video address on Friday to an international conference entitled ""Human Rights combating fear and prejudice" that was organised as part of the Baltic Pride events.

"As the European commissioner responsible for Fundamental Rights, I am fully committed to combating homophobia and discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation."

"The principle of equal treatment is a fundamental value for the EU ... Yet, as confirmed by the data collected by the Fundamental Rights Agency, by member states institutions and by civil society, homosexual people in Europe are still victims of exclusion, hate speech, hate crime and discrimination.

"This is completely unacceptable," she continued, outlining the work the commission has done to stop discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace and housing.

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

LGBTI protection still lacking in EU

Despite some welcome advances, some legal rights for the LGBTI community are lacking in EU member states, and the rise of the populist right is making things worse, conference in Warsaw is told.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight


The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us