The European Commission published in December 2015 the List of Actions to Advance LGBTI Equality to move LGBTI equality forward. The Council adopted the first ever conclusions on LGBTI equality in June 2016 requiring the Commission to annually report on the implementation of the list of actions.
This report is the second of these annual reports, identifying the European Commission’s advances in this area.
The Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, presented the List of actions to advance LGBTI equality to the Council and the European Parliament in December 2015. It was the Commission’s response to a European Parliament Resolution and a joint call from Member States to step up efforts to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Council conclusions on LGBTI equality in June 2016 required the Commission to report annually on the implementation of the list of actions.
In February 2017, the Commission presented its first report for 2016, at the High Level Ministerial Conference on the LGBTIQ Road Map organised by the Maltese Presidency of the EU. This second report provides an overview of the Commission’s actions in 2017.
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová presented the second annual report on the list of Actions to advance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Equality to the High Level Group on Non-Discrimination, Equality and Diversity on 1 March. In her speech, she insisted on the need to be more vocal to protect the rights of more vulnerable groups in society. Although 71% of EU citizens agree that LGBTI people should have the same rights as heterosexual people, according to a study by the European Fundamental Rights Agency, 47% of LGBTI people report to be discriminated or harassed in the year preceding the survey.
Commissioner Jourová also took stock of the progress made by the Europan Commission to better protect LGTBI people while insisting on the joint responsibility with Member States. She underlined the fact that the European Commission is leading by example. Last year a new Human Resources diversity strategy with specific actions for LGTBI staff was adopted.
The Commission also raised awareness by lightening the Berlaymont in rainbow colours on 17 May, and by developing video dedicated to LGBTI equality. She then unveiled a new set of 17 EU-funded projects in 21 EU member states (total cost 5.915.065 euros; EU funding: 4.699.044 euros). Those projects will support, for example, the Baltic and the Czech pride, anti-bullying campaigns in Greek schools, online tools to prevent hate speech in Italy, etc.
Equinet and Equality Bodies
In the first section of th report about Improving rights and ensuring legal protection of LGBTI people and their families in key areas of EU competence, the European Commission highlights its continued work with the Council presidencies to develop the EU acquis so as to improve the lives of LGBTI people.
The first point mentioned relates to the proposed Equal Treatment Directive: “The Commission has been working with the Council presidencies to make progress on the adoption of the Directive, which remains a priority. It continues to stress the importance of the Directive for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The Directive is needed to fill the current gaps in EU legislation and to ensure a minimum level of protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation beyond the area of employment. It would also ensure that in all Member States, an equality body covers the ground of sexual orientation and assists lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are victims of discrimination. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet), Commissioner Jourová, highlighted the need to ensure that all equality bodies are enabled to adequately fulfil their roles and that the Commission would reflect on how to help them fulfil their potential.”
Equinet LGBTI Factsheet Web PDF
In 2017, Equinet released a Factsheet to highlight some of the ways in which the work of national equality bodies in Europe contributes to the implementation of the List of Actions. It focuses on action n°4 “Supporting key actors responsible to promote and advance equal rights for LGBTI people in the EU” and provides insights and good practices in 4 areas:
- Addressing bullying and harassment of LGBTI people
- Supporting education actors to advance LGBTI equality
- Supporting businesses to advance LGBTI equality
- Supporting key actors to promote and enhance equality in access to healthcare for LGBTI people