Respecting LGBT+ a condition of joining EU

The European Parliament has approved three of its annual reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries. In those reports MEPs have assessed the rights of LGBTI people in Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo, and urged the countries to improve the situation.

While the UK is busy negotiating its way out of the EU following the Brexit referendum, other countries are eager to join. It’s easier for the EU to put pressure on countries to human rights as part of the conditions for entry than once they are inside the union, so this is a vital time for reforming law and state-sanctioned attitudes in prospective member states.

For Macedonia, the Parliament emphasises it should align its anti-discrimination protections with EU standards, as regards discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in employment.  The Parliament is also concerned that intolerance, discrimination and attacks against LGBTI people persist,

On Serbia, the Parliament underlines that while an anti-discrimination framework is in place, there is no consistent implementation across the country. Further efforts remain necessary, including for LGBTI people, before Serbia could join the EU.

And for Kosovo, the Parliament “welcomes the high-level political support for the rights of LGBTI persons.” It also applauds that a second pride parade has been held.

Fabio-Massimo Castaldo MEP, Vice-President of the parliament’s LGBTI equality committee, commented: “While truly positive developments are happening on LGBTI rights in the Western Balkans, hate speech and hate violence remain problematic and are in many cases not addressed.”

“By voting for these reports, the parliament made clear that respect for the rights of LGBTI people is a key aspect of EU integration.”