Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Lithuania bans EU-sponsored gay rights parade

Lithuanian officials in Vilnius have rejected an EU-sponsored tolerance campaign rally over fears that the event could spark unrest in the Baltic country known for its anti-gay sentiments.

The decision - taken unanimously by the city council - was based on information suggesting that anti-gay protestors could attempt to violate public order, said the director of the city's public order unit, Gintaras Tamosiunas, according to Baltic News Service BNS.

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

  • Vilnius - the decision was taken unanimously by the city council (Photo: European Commission)

The rally was due to take place on Friday (25 May) and is a campaign - named "For Diversity - Against Discrimination" - organised in cooperation with the European Union, aimed at promoting tolerance towards minority groups, including gays and lesbians.

One of the highlights of the event was to have been the arrival of a so-called "anti-discrimination" bus, which is touring 19 EU member states and designed to inform citizens of their rights under EU and national anti-discrimination legislation.

The move makes Vilnius the first capital in Europe to reject the travelling campaign, which is now into its fourth season.

The EU on Monday said it "regrets the decision to cancel the planned event" in Vilnius, AFP reports.

"The decision by the city authorities shows how much still needs to be done to change behaviour and attitudes towards discriminated groups and to promote awareness of diversity," the European Commission said in a statement.

The ban comes after Trolleybus drivers in Vilnius and Kaunas earlier this month refused to drive vehicles carrying advertisements calling for sexual tolerance.

Sweden's ambassador to Lithuania Malin Karre spoke to the Lithuanian parliament last week calling for the rights of gay and lesbian people to be upheld.

The comments angered anti-gay activists, who protested outside the Swedish embassy in Vilnius with anti-gay activist Vaidas Vysniauskas saying that the speech of the ambassador "hurt [the] religious feelings of faithful Lithuanian citizens."

"We are worried that the representative of a foreign country does not understand that maybe the virtues possibly acceptable for Swedish are not acceptable for Lithuanians," Mr Vysniauskas said, according to the Baltic Times.

Thousands of people marched last weekend in the Polish capital, Warsaw's annual gay-rights parade, days after the country's education minister called for a ban on the "propagation of homosexuality" in Poland's schools.

Gay rights activists from across Europe together with MEPs and Swedish Europe minister Cecilia Malmstrom attended the rally in Poland.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

News in Brief

  1. May to meet Tusk on Sunday at Arab summit
  2. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  3. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  4. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  5. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  6. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  7. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  8. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations

Stakeholder

A touch of football at this year's G20 summit

FIFA president Gianni Infantino addressed the G20 leaders and placed football at their disposal as a powerful tool to help them address the challenges facing the world today.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Brexit and Orban in spotlight This WEEK
  2. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  3. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  4. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  5. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  6. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  7. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  8. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us