European Parliament adds LGBT rights to neighbourhood policy

The European Parliament today adopted LGBT rights into a policy which organises relationships between the EU and its Eastern and Southern neighbours.

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) now includes a “need to focus on strengthening and consolidating … respect for diversity and the rights of minorities, including … the rights of LGBTI persons.”

The ENP has a budget of more than €15 billion for 2014-2020, and aims to create a “ring of friends” around the EU.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, said: “Too many people in our neighbourhood face discrimination and violence for their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In some cases this is endorsed by laws criminalising homosexuality, or supported by homophobic politicians.”

“I am glad the parliament by this report has ensured that this will be taken up by the Neighbourhood Policy.”

Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, also commented, saying: “This report recognises the need to improve the situation for LGBTI people in our neighbourhood.”

“It gives the European Commission and all EU delegations in the ENP countries the mandate to tackle discrimination and work with civil society to change the situation for the better.”

Alyn Smith MEP and Trustee of LGBTYouth, added: “This is superb news and shows how the EU can be powerful force on the world stage.

“Partner countries agree with the EU on an ENP action plan to demonstrate their commitment to democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and so on, and the EY helps them to achieve these objectives.

“In a world where some countries make homophobia an active part of their domestic policy, I’m pleased to see Europe using the full clout of its economic power to counter these attitudes.”

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