German Green MEP Terry Reintke, co-chair of the European Parliament’s LGBTIQ intergroup, called for “strong limitations” so that EU funds can only be spent on projects respecting fundamental values such as equality.
“We have seen cases in the past where, instead of using European funds to promote equality and fundamental values, the opposite has happened,” Reintke said at a webinar where she presented a Parliament resolution on declaring the EU an area of freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people.
The resolution responds to the so-called “LGBT ideology-free zones” introduced by some local authorities in Poland and condemned by the European Parliament in December 2019. The text will be debated and voted on in the assembly’s plenary session of 10-11 March.
According to Reintke, the resolution aims to “create greater pressure on the European Commission to act” in favour of the rights of the LGBTIQ community, which is still very much affected by violence and discrimination across the EU.
Hungary and Poland are not the only ones targeted by the resolution, Reintke explained, saying the situation “is still worrying” throughout the EU bloc.
The resolution is largely symbolic and will not imply a political procedure or have direct legal consequences. But the intergroup intends to start a conversation with political leaders at a national, regional and local level in order to identify concrete actions that can be taken.
“We want to see what other actors have to say, to understand what can be done at the political level and by society,” she said, calling on Portugal to make this issue a priority during its EU presidency.
Miguel Chambel, coordinator for the Parliament’s LGBTIQ intergroup, underlined the long way there is to go for equality, highlighting the need to adopt measures at national and European level, which can be legislative or political”.
“They could be an extension to the list of crimes that the European Commission has proposed so that there is harmonised protection for all people so that in cases of hate crimes, regardless of where they happen in the EU, they can be investigated as homophobic crimes and not just hate crimes,” he said.
Chambel called for “training the police to identify and investigate crimes against the LGBTIQ community,” saying “appropriate legislation, policy and training are lacking” in many places.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]