Current Affairs

Gay group advises Germany over EU role

Marc Shoffman December 20, 2006
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EU gay campaigners have published a document aimed at Germany as it steps into the presidency of the political body in the new year.

Germany will take over from Finland which will complete its six month stint at the end of December, making way for the Germans in January 2007.

ILGA-Europe has published a memorandum to the EU Presidency highlighting how it would like the member state to act on issues of equality, non-discrimination and human rights in the EU.

There are numbers of significant developments and events coinciding with the German Presidency. One of the most important events is the first half of 2007, the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, which the German presidency will oversee, and the first Equality Summit it will host in Berlin.

The Presidency will also coordinate a Berlin Declaration which will be issued next year to mark 50 years of the Treaty of Rome and further debate over the European Constitution. The German Presidency starts on a day when the Fundamental Rights Agency begins its work.

ILGA-Europe wants to see the German Presidency not only carrying on but further strengthening the EU’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination.

One of the German Presidency’s announcements is a creation of an Alliance for Family in cooperation with upcoming Portuguese and Slovene Presidencies. ILGA-Europe is also encouraging the Presidency to embrace gay families to ensure all models of families are equally reflected and represented.

It comes after an EU survey this week revealed intense opposition to gay marriage in Europe.

Deborah Lambillotte, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board, said: “The results of the Eurobarometer survey demonstrated once again that the issue of human rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people still divides the European public and that is exactly why the German Presidency and the EU need to be frontline defenders of one the main European principles – equality for every person in Europe.

“We look forward to work with the German Presidency. Next year promises to be exciting and interesting as the European Union celebrates the 50 anniversary of its founding treaty. This is a significant milestone and Europe should reflect its achievements and affirm its commitments to equality, human rights and non-discrimination for all people of Europe.”

One of the major issues regarding homosexuality in the EU is homophobia in member states such as Poland and Latvia, as well as combating stigma outside in places such as Russia and in the new members Bulgaria and Romania.

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