A new ‘Liberals for Equality’ LGBT network was launched in London this week, at the 2013 European Liberal Congress, opened by Lib Dem European parliamentary candidate Giles Goodall.

This network will encourage Europe’s liberal party campaigners to campaign for LGBT rights prior to the European parliamentary elections in May 2014.

Giles Goodall, LGBT+ Lib Dems member, EU parliamentary candidate and network co-founder, opened the event while the keynote speech delivered by Birgitta Ohlsson MP, Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs, highlighted that additional support is needed at all levels to eradicate LGBT prejudices in Europe.

Network co-founder, Giles Goodall, a Liberal Democrat candidate for the European Parliament, said: “LGBT rights are human rights, and for me as a Liberal Democrat, they are a defining principle. That is why I believe we as liberals need to push the agenda forward and to campaign strongly, consistently and loudly for equality, all over Europe.”

The event received great support from ALDE Vice President Lousewies Van der Laan from the Netherlands, who has campaigned on these issues for many years. She chaired the panel debate, with guests Tamara Van Ark MP (also from the Netherlands), Evelyn Paradis from ILGA Europe, Remigijus Simasius MP (from Lithuania) and Adrian Trett from LGBT+ Liberal Democrats in the UK.

Also present at the event were other leading members of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, including co-president Baroness Liz Barker.

Mr Trett said: “It has been a pleasure and an honour to speak at my first ever ALDE Congress. I hope the Liberals for Equality network will provide a springboard for committing all Liberal parties to campaign for LGBT equality, disseminating good practice, educating and networking whilst providing a safe space for discussion and reflection on the main issues facing LGBT people around Europe.”