European Parliament says candidate countries must offer gays protection

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The European Parliament has said that Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey must prove they can offer “genuine protection” to gay people in order to join the European Union.

The three countries have been criticised for their records on LGBT rights and reports given to the European Parliament reminded the candidates that protections such as anti-discrimination laws were “non-negotiable”.

Croatia was criticised for its 2009 de facto ban on Zagreb Pride and the government’s failure to implement anti-discrimination laws.

In Turkey, the country’s penal code raised concerns for “allowing for the systematic persecution” of gay, bisexual and trans people, while Macedonia was told to cover sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination laws.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, said “I am happy that our amendments in favour of LGBT rights in the progress reports for Macedonia and Croatia were adopted by the European Parliament.

“We have reaffirmed that anti-discrimination standards must apply in candidate countries.

Michael Cashman MEP, Ms Lunacek’s co-president, added: “Accession criteria are crystal clear: minorities must be protected from discrimination as laid out in Article 19 of the Treaty – 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.”