Saturday

15th May 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe 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. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

Opinion

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us