Poland and Hungary block inclusion of LGBTQI rights in EU statement

A bitter conflict over the mention of LGBTIQ citizens in a joint EU statement by employment and social affairs ministers revealed a deep-seated cultural war within the union.

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Poland and Hungary block inclusion of LGBTQI rights in EU statement - NewsMavens
EU commission meeting room. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Last December, Poland and Hungary joined forces to veto the use of the acronym "LGBTIQ" in a document of the EPSCO, a council formed of European employment and social affairs ministers. In response, 19 EU countries expressed their outrage and produced a statement calling on the EU to protect LGBTIQ rights. 

Wouter Koolmees, Dutch minister for social affairs and employment, was quoted as saying that "LGBTIQ inclusion and equality are core values of our European Union."

While the new paper is not legally binding, it is a clear-cut signal that most EU states are dedicated to protecting sexual minorities. How they will legislate jointly with their anti-LGBTIQ counterparts, however, remains unclear. 

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Details from the story:

  • Austria's right-wing government -- the current holder of the Presidency of the European Council -- reintroduced "LGBTIQ" in the EPSCO statement, but only in the conclusion, which is not legally binding.
  • The Executive Director of the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Evelyne Paradis, said: "We would like to thank all member states who spoke out and stopped this attempt that would have marked a clear step backwards from EU treaty obligations and agreed text within the EU institutions."
  • Several EU countries were critical of Austria for acceding to Poland and Hungary's demands by removing "LGBTIQ" and replacing it with more vague expressions like "genetic features" and "sexual orientation."

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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