Recognising same-sex unions across the EU ‘not a priority’ for the Commission

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

In a memo published yesterday, the European Commission failed to mention the mutual recognition of same-sex unions across EU borders as a priority for its 2010-2014 Stockholm Programme. The Stockholm Programme lays down the Commission’s policies in the areas of justice, freedom and security for European citizens until the year 2014.

In a resolution last November, the European Parliament adopted a clear position on the issue of mutual recognition. The resolution states that ‘without prejudice to national legislation on family law’, the Stockholm Programme will have to ‘ensure freedom of movement for EU citizens and their families, including both registered partnerships and marriages, [...] and to avoid all kinds of discrimination on any ground, including sexual orientation’.

Furthermore, a European Commission official told journalists yesterday that the mutual recognition of same-sex unions was “not a priority for the moment”.

Commissioners Reding and Malmström

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, reacted: “During their January hearings, Commissioners Malmström and Reding both committed themselves to full equality for European citizens, including on grounds of gender and sexual orientation—indeed, Viviane Reding explicitly said that same-sex couples must retain the same rights when moving across the EU. It seems they are now shying away from these dossiers because they are controversial for some national governments. It would be unacceptable that LGBT families be, again, asked to wait for equal rights.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, continued: “It is scandalous that an official from the European Commission can state that countering discrimination of its citizens is ‘not a priority’. Commissioners Reding and Malmström must now give a clear lead on the demands of the Parliament with regards to the Stockholm Programme, and begin the process of ensuring that all citizens, including LGBT families, enjoy genuine freedom of movement across the EU. This is fundamental.”

The European Parliament and the Intergroup on LGBT Rights will closely monitor the implementation of the Stockholm Programme.

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