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EU Current Campaigns

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the European Union (EU) member states have been actively lobbying EU institutions and their national authorities to ensure lgb rights are recognised and respected in the EU. ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, is playing a catalytic role and currently works on four major campaigns:

On this page:

Free Movement (Family Definition)
EU Constitution
Refugee Definition
EU Enlargement

Free Movement (Family Definition)

EU citizens are free to move between member states to take up employment and have the right to be joined by their family. That right is currently denied to same-sex partners because EU legislation only recognises families where the partners are married. European lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are campaigning to ensure that registered same-sex partners and unmarried partners can enjoy equal rights.

In 2001, the European Commission proposed a Directive on the Free Movement of EU Citizens which would provide full free movement rights only to spouses of EU citizens. Unmarried partners would only gain the right to move within the EU if the receiving state treated unmarried partners in a manner comparable to married couples under national law. ILGA-Europe and EU national lgb organisations suggested guaranteeing full free movement rights to unmarried same-sex partners. In February 2003 this campaign received support from the European Parliament who approved a proposal to extend free movement rights to same-sex partners.

EU Constitution

The EU is currently discussing a possible constitution. Its most recent draft contains a section on fundamental rights and states that ‘any discrimination on any grounds such as sex, race, colour or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.’

Click here to read the draft EU Constitution.

Refugee Definition

The European Commission has proposed a series of directives in the field of Asylum and Immigration. One of the draft directives sets out to achieve a common definition of refugee status. ILGA-Europe has campaigned to ensure that persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are recognised in the directives and that the definition of ‘family member’ is inclusive of same-sex families.

EU Enlargement

All countries applying for EU membership have to fulfil the Copenhagen Political Criteria, which sets out respect for fundamental rights as a priority. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in both EU and EU candidate countries view the EU enlargement process as an opportunity to improve the situation for lgb people in countries entering the EU. During negotiations between the EU and the accession countries the European Parliament adopted a number of resolutions calling for the accession countries to provide equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. Detailed research has been conducted in each of the accession countries examining the extent of legal and social discrimination faced by lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. As a result of EU pressure the age of consent has been equalised in those candidate countries which had a higher age of consent for gay men and some of the accession countries have introduced anti-discrimination legislation specifically mentioning sexual orientation.

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