We have gained insights into the European Commission's proposed plan for advancing LGBTQ rights.
A few weeks ago, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, announced a new strategy for LGBTQ people in the face of rising anti-LGBTQ sentiments in Eastern Europe.
I am thinking in particular of Poland and its so-called “LGBTQ-free zones” and announcements of discriminatory policies; Hungary, where the government will soon ban same-sex adoptions; and Russia, of course.
Fortunately, the polls are reassuring. Europeans are in favor of LGBTQ rights and the numbers are increasing every year.
Thus, 76% of European citizens think that LGBTQ people should have the same rights as straight people. This represents a 5% increase in five years.
Nevertheless, 43% of people from the LGBTQ community feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Regarding the plan itself, the Commission wishes to continue its financial withdrawal from projects set up by anti-LGBTQ cities or states.
The first financial sanctions were imposed on Polish cities after they signed an anti-LGBTQ motion declaring themselves as “LGBTQ free zones”.
There is also the will to register hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ community as Eurocrimes, in the same way as terrorism and human trafficking.
I am not sure that this will go through since it requires a unanimous vote of the EU member states, which will not happen unless there is a compromise.
Finally, family status could be preserved at the European level. Thus, the parenthood of a same-sex couple should be recognized throughout the 27 member countries of the European Union.
“Family law is member states’ competence, we fully respect it,” EU Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova said. “However, when applying national law, member states must respect their international human rights obligations and applicable EU law. Member States should also respect the fundamental values on which the Union is based, including equality and human rights.”
This also applies to the status of married couples.
“This is not about ideology. This is not about being men or women. This is about love,” Jourova said. “This strategy is not against anyone. This does not put anyone on a pedestal. But it is about guaranteeing safety and non-discrimination for everyone.”
Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equal Opportunities, said as the new strategy was made public:
“We are still a long way away from the full inclusion and acceptance that LGBTQI people deserve. Together with the (EU) member states, I trust we can make Europe a better and safer place for all.”
Everyone was waiting for the European Commission to take up the battle for LGBTQ equality. I think we all dreamed of it after the rise of discrimination and hateful acts in recent years in Europe.