A plenary session of the European Parliament reaffirmed Feb. 10 that nations hoping to join the European Union must modify national law to protect LGBT people from discrimination.
Adopting reports on the EU accession of applicants Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey, the parliament said such protections are a non-negotiable condition of membership.
The report on Croatia conveys the parliament’s “concern at the resentment against the LGBT minority in Croatia, evidenced most recently by homophobic attacks on participants in the gay pride parade in Zagreb,” and calls on the government to implement and enforce protections against discrimination.
The report on Macedonia expresses the parliament’s regret that proposed anti-discrimination legislation does not include sexual orientation and gender identity as covered grounds and calls on the government to get in line with EU standards.
The progress report on Turkey’s accession points to shortcomings in the Turkish penal code that allow for systematic persecution of LGBT minorities and limitations on their freedom of assembly.
“We have reaffirmed that anti-discrimination standards must apply in candidate countries, and Stefan Füle, (EU) commissioner for enlargement, has assured us of his support on this issue,” said parliament member Ulrike Lunacek, co-president of the body’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights.
Added Intergroup Co-President Michael Cashman: “Accession criteria are crystal clear: Minorities must be protected from discrimination as laid out in Article 19 of the Treaty (on the Functioning of the European Union) – and that includes sexual orientation. This is not an à la carte menu: It is at the core of the European Union, and we will be rigorous in its application.”
At last year’s pride parade in Zagreb, according to the organizing committee, police officers “permitted an unconstitutional fascist gathering, permitted hate speech and, therefore, drastically decreased democratic standards of public assembly that have been established in the past years through work and cooperation with the police.”
The officers “illegally” allowed counterprotesters to chant “Kill, kill faggots” and “Faggots to concentration camps,” and took no action against people who spit on and threw things at the marchers, the pride organization said.
Between 700 and 800 people marched, making the parade “undoubtedly the largest pride march so far,” the committee said.