Announced just last week, the European Commission is working on its first-ever strategy for LGBTQ+ equality in the EU. While progress in the EU was made towards LGBTQ+ equality over the past years, discrimination against LGBTQ+ people persists with 43% feeling discriminated.
The strategy addresses the inequalities and challenges affecting LGBTQ+ people, setting out a number of targeted actions, including legal and funding measures, for the next 5 years. The strategy proposes to extend the list of EU crimes to cover hate crime, including homophobic hate speech and hate crime and to bring forward the legislation on the mutual recognition of parenthood in cross border situations, among others.
It also ensures that LGBTQ+ concerns are well reflected in EU policy-making, so that LGBTQ+ people, in all their diversity, are safe and have equal opportunities to prosper and fully participate in society.
Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli said: “…everybody in the European Union should feel safe and free without fear of discrimination or violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. We are still a long way away from the full inclusion and acceptance that LGBTIQ people deserve. Together with the Member States, I trust we can make Europe a better and safer place for all. In this regard, the strategy calls on those Member States that do not have national LGBTIQ equality strategies to adopt one, addressing the specific equality needs of LGBTIQ people within their country.”
The strategy sets out a series of targeted actions around four main pillars: fighting discrimination, ensuring safety, protecting rights of rainbow families, and protecting LGBTQ+ equality around the world.
The European Commission recognises that not only are LGBTQ+ people targets for bias and discrimination, and they disproportionately suffer from hate crime, hate speech and violence, but also that due to differences in national legislation across the Member States, family ties may not always be recognised when rainbow families cross the EU’s internal borders.
Under the lead of Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and with support of the Task-Force on Equality, the Commission will also integrate the fight against discrimination affecting LGBTQ+ people into all EU policies and major initiatives.
In the next steps, Member States are encouraged to build on existing best practices and develop their own action plans on LGBTQ+ equality. The objective will be to better protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination and measure actions to advance LGBTQ+ equality in areas of Member State competence.
The European Commission will regularly monitor the implementation of the actions outlined in the strategy and present a mid-term review in 2023.
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