Cecilia

Press release: Parliament urges Commission and Member States to guarantee freedom of movement LGBTI families

Today, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on protection and non-discrimination with regard to minorities in the EU Member States. The resolution contains strong wording on the free movement of LGBTI families.

In the resolution, the European Parliament urges the European Commission and Member States to correctly implement the Free Movement Directive, “consistently respecting, inter alia, the provisions related to family members and prohibiting discrimination on any grounds.” (par. 20)

This Directive gives citizens, the right of free movement and residence across the EU. This right extends to their direct family members, including (non-EU) spouse, and their children.

However, in practice, same-sex spouses are often denied these rights. Also transgender persons’ marriage certificates or ID documents are not necessarily recognised by other Member States, despite their validity and legality.

That’s why the European Parliament calls on the Commission “to take action to ensure that LGBTI individuals and their families can exercise their right to free movement.” (par. 21) and to provide “clear and accessible information on the recognition of cross-border rights for LGBTI persons and their families in the EU.” (par. 19)

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “It isn’t freedom of movement if your civil status literally evaporates at the border of one Member State. Whenever a civil status is already legal in one Member States, others must recognise this.”

“This won’t introduce same-sex unions into countries that don’t want it at the moment—the EU cannot do this. This is respecting the sovereignty of Member States where these unions exist as well as respecting the lives of the people who are part of these unions.”

Cecilia Wikström MEP, Chair of the Petitions Committee and Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “In the last years the European Parliament has repeatedly called for true equality in freedom of movement for citizens and their families.”

“It’s time for Member States to finally start respecting the laws that they have voted and implement freedom of movement for everyone.”

For more information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Press release: MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

 

MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

  • minority issues not high enough on EU agenda
  • free movement of LGBTI individuals and their families must be ensured
  • discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has increased

Parliament reiterated its support for the rights of ethnic, sexual, religious and other minorities across the EU, in a resolution passed on Wednesday.

MEPs emphasise that minority issues have not been high enough on the EU agenda. They deplore that those belonging to minorities still encounter obstacles in ensuring respect for their fundamental rights, as demonstrated by the number of petitions that the European Parliament continues to receive.

The rights of minorities are enshrined in the treaties of the EU, but, in order to close the gap between treaty and reality, MEPs suggest better monitoring of discrimination, as well as concrete legislative action from the Commission and the Council.

They furthermore encourage member states to ensure that:

  • their legal systems guarantee that minorities are not discriminated against,
  • the right to use minority languages is upheld.

The resolution, drafted by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, also calls on the Commission to take action to ensure that LGBTI individuals and their families can exercise their right to free movement across all member states.

Quote

Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), Chair of the Committee on Petitions, said: “The European Union is a Union built on values. Our citizens’ fundamental rights must always be respected, and we should ensure that this includes all of our citizens. We should never accept that people are discriminated against only because they belong to a minority group, as several petitions received regrettably indicate. The Committee on Petitions therefore urgently calls on the Commission and the Member States to better protect the rights of minority communities in the EU. ”

Background

In the latest 2015 Eurobarometer survey, discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin continues to be regarded as the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU, followed by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The latter increased substantially since 2012.

In recent years, Parliament has passed a number of resolutions urging the improvement of fundamental rights for EU citizens in general and minorities in particular.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

Linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Wikström, Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs, encourages to set further steps in the implementation in the Better Law Making between the Parliament, Commission and Council

Press release from MEP Cecilia Wikström

Cecilia Wikström, Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs (CCC), has been entrusted by President Tajani to represent the European Parliament in the high-level inter-institutional team to assess the implementation of the better law-making agreement. Wikström can base her position on a political assessment made at the level of the CCC, based on the practical experiences committees have in implementing the agreement.

The first stock taking meeting took place on Tuesday 12 December with Commission First Vice President Timmermans and with Minister Masikaas representing the Council Presidency.

All participants have underlined the progress made in various areas, such as the register of delegated acts, officially launched on the occasion of the meeting, allowing everybody to follow delegated acts from their preparation until their adoption.

Whilst acknowledging the efforts from all sides to improve the legislative process, Wikström underlined that a better exchange of information between the institutions could still be achieved under the agreement. She also issued a call on Member States to communicate how EU legislation is transposed at national level and whether elements have been added on top (“gold-plating”) by Member States.

Wikström also expressed Parliament’s wish for access to information on the negotiation of international agreements, allowing for democratic scrutiny and the need for a proper impact assessment before a legislative proposal is submitted, allowing for an informed choice.

“The citizen wants the EU to deliver. This is a shared responsibility for Parliament, Commission and Council alike. We need to be transparent and able to explain why and how legislation is made in the EU and who is responsible for what. Parliament plays a key role in shaping the EU legislation. Therefore, we want to convince the citizens that their vote in the next elections matters.”

For more information, please contact:
Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

Linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Asylum reform: EU leaders must not drag their feet on new Dublin rules

Council progress on the revamp of the Dublin system to ensure a fair and responsible EU asylum system should not be further postponed, says Parliament’s lead MEP Cecilia Wikström. Ahead of the European Council, she also warns that Parliament will not sign off on any reform that does not change the situation on the ground.

 

Parliament’s lead MEP on the Dublin reform, Cecilia Wikstrom (ALDE, SE) said:

 

“President Tusk’s recent meddling in the legislative process on the Dublin regulation is clearly unhelpful and deeply damaging to the legislative process, as well as to the inter-institutional relations between the European Parliament and EU governments in the Council.

 

– His comments, that he would propose a way forward on the Dublin reforms if European leaders cannot agree on a position by June 2018, are arrogant and disrespectful to the European Commission, which has already put forward a proposal on Dublin reforms, as well as to the European Parliament, which has recently adopted a mandate for negotiations by a large majority.

 

– It is understandable that member states would want to try and find a consensus on such an important issue, but it is equally clear from the last 18 months of fruitless debate in the European Council that such a unanimous position will never be possible to reach, since a small number of member states are determined to obstruct any form of constructive reforms of the Dublin regulation.

 

– European leaders need to stop meddling in and blocking the legislative process on the Dublin regulation. They need to give a clear mandate to Justice and Home Affairs ministers to proceed with the legislative work as required under the treaty, in order to find a position with a broad majority that can then be negotiated with the European Parliament as co-legislator. Dragging out talks in the European Council on the Dublin regulation until June 2018 leaves almost no time for negotiations between the co-legislators before the next European Parliament elections.

 

– The European Parliament will only sign off on reforms of the Dublin regulation that change the situation on the ground and allow us to take back control over the failed asylum system. We will not repeat the errors of the past and sign off on a watered-down compromise, which is guaranteed to fail again on first contact with reality. Any new Dublin system must include an automatic relocation system, with the full participation of all member states, as well as fostering true solidarity between all member states”, Mrs Wikström ends.

 

Quick facts

 

A broad majority of MEPs endorsed Parliament’s negotiation mandate on Dublin on 16 November, calling for a mandatory relocation of asylum seekers to ensure that they are fairly distributed among member states and that the system will work on the ground.

 

Member states have still not agreed on a common position, but hope to be able to do so during the first half of 2018, after which the inter-institutional talks to reach a final compromise could begin.

 

For mor information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Press release: Council plans on new Dublin rules far from acceptable

Member states’ plans for a new Dublin system would make a compromise very difficult, warns Parliament’s chief negotiator

Estonia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, gave EU ambassadors a proposal on Wednesday for reforming the way in which the EU distributes asylum seekers among countries.

Commenting on the draft plans, Parliament’s lead MEP on the Dublin regulation Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) says:

– “I welcome the work of the Estonian presidency in attempting to reach a common position in the Council on the Dublin regulation. The proposed system however is very far from what could be an acceptable solution for the European Parliament. If the Council were to agree on such a position it would make negotiations between the co-legislators very difficult.

– The proposal currently before the Council would perpetuate the current failed ad hoc responses of the EU to the migration crisis, instead of building a permanent system which could work both in times of normal and high pressures. I would urge Member States to carefully study the position of the European Parliament, adopted with a very large majority. The Parliament will be a constructive and ambitious partner in the legislative process, but we will not accept to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

 

Quick facts

A broad majority of MEPs endorsed Parliament’s negotiation mandate on Dublin on 16 November, calling for a mandatory relocation of asylum seekers to ensure that they are fairly distributed among member states and that the system will work on the ground.

Member states have still not agreed on a common position, but hope to be able to do so during the first half of 2018, after which the inter-institutional talks in view of reaching a final compromise could begin.

The Maltese and Estonian presidencies have been sounding out member states on their views on a new asylum system. The results of these bilateral talks were presented to EU ambassadors on Wednesday 29 November.

For mor information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Read more in the archive

Press release: Parliament urges Commission and Member States to guarantee freedom of movement LGBTI families

Today, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on protection and non-discrimination with regard to minorities in the EU Member States. The resolution contains strong wording on the free movement of LGBTI families.

In the resolution, the European Parliament urges the European Commission and Member States to correctly implement the Free Movement Directive, “consistently respecting, inter alia, the provisions related to family members and prohibiting discrimination on any grounds.” (par. 20)

This Directive gives citizens, the right of free movement and residence across the EU. This right extends to their direct family members, including (non-EU) spouse, and their children.

However, in practice, same-sex spouses are often denied these rights. Also transgender persons’ marriage certificates or ID documents are not necessarily recognised by other Member States, despite their validity and legality.

That’s why the European Parliament calls on the Commission “to take action to ensure that LGBTI individuals and their families can exercise their right to free movement.” (par. 21) and to provide “clear and accessible information on the recognition of cross-border rights for LGBTI persons and their families in the EU.” (par. 19)

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “It isn’t freedom of movement if your civil status literally evaporates at the border of one Member State. Whenever a civil status is already legal in one Member States, others must recognise this.”

“This won’t introduce same-sex unions into countries that don’t want it at the moment—the EU cannot do this. This is respecting the sovereignty of Member States where these unions exist as well as respecting the lives of the people who are part of these unions.”

Cecilia Wikström MEP, Chair of the Petitions Committee and Member of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented: “In the last years the European Parliament has repeatedly called for true equality in freedom of movement for citizens and their families.”

“It’s time for Member States to finally start respecting the laws that they have voted and implement freedom of movement for everyone.”

For more information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Press release: MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

 

MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

  • minority issues not high enough on EU agenda
  • free movement of LGBTI individuals and their families must be ensured
  • discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has increased

Parliament reiterated its support for the rights of ethnic, sexual, religious and other minorities across the EU, in a resolution passed on Wednesday.

MEPs emphasise that minority issues have not been high enough on the EU agenda. They deplore that those belonging to minorities still encounter obstacles in ensuring respect for their fundamental rights, as demonstrated by the number of petitions that the European Parliament continues to receive.

The rights of minorities are enshrined in the treaties of the EU, but, in order to close the gap between treaty and reality, MEPs suggest better monitoring of discrimination, as well as concrete legislative action from the Commission and the Council.

They furthermore encourage member states to ensure that:

  • their legal systems guarantee that minorities are not discriminated against,
  • the right to use minority languages is upheld.

The resolution, drafted by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, also calls on the Commission to take action to ensure that LGBTI individuals and their families can exercise their right to free movement across all member states.

Quote

Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), Chair of the Committee on Petitions, said: “The European Union is a Union built on values. Our citizens’ fundamental rights must always be respected, and we should ensure that this includes all of our citizens. We should never accept that people are discriminated against only because they belong to a minority group, as several petitions received regrettably indicate. The Committee on Petitions therefore urgently calls on the Commission and the Member States to better protect the rights of minority communities in the EU. ”

Background

In the latest 2015 Eurobarometer survey, discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin continues to be regarded as the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU, followed by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The latter increased substantially since 2012.

In recent years, Parliament has passed a number of resolutions urging the improvement of fundamental rights for EU citizens in general and minorities in particular.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

Linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Wikström, Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs, encourages to set further steps in the implementation in the Better Law Making between the Parliament, Commission and Council

Press release from MEP Cecilia Wikström

Cecilia Wikström, Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs (CCC), has been entrusted by President Tajani to represent the European Parliament in the high-level inter-institutional team to assess the implementation of the better law-making agreement. Wikström can base her position on a political assessment made at the level of the CCC, based on the practical experiences committees have in implementing the agreement.

The first stock taking meeting took place on Tuesday 12 December with Commission First Vice President Timmermans and with Minister Masikaas representing the Council Presidency.

All participants have underlined the progress made in various areas, such as the register of delegated acts, officially launched on the occasion of the meeting, allowing everybody to follow delegated acts from their preparation until their adoption.

Whilst acknowledging the efforts from all sides to improve the legislative process, Wikström underlined that a better exchange of information between the institutions could still be achieved under the agreement. She also issued a call on Member States to communicate how EU legislation is transposed at national level and whether elements have been added on top (“gold-plating”) by Member States.

Wikström also expressed Parliament’s wish for access to information on the negotiation of international agreements, allowing for democratic scrutiny and the need for a proper impact assessment before a legislative proposal is submitted, allowing for an informed choice.

“The citizen wants the EU to deliver. This is a shared responsibility for Parliament, Commission and Council alike. We need to be transparent and able to explain why and how legislation is made in the EU and who is responsible for what. Parliament plays a key role in shaping the EU legislation. Therefore, we want to convince the citizens that their vote in the next elections matters.”

For more information, please contact:
Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

Linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Asylum reform: EU leaders must not drag their feet on new Dublin rules

Council progress on the revamp of the Dublin system to ensure a fair and responsible EU asylum system should not be further postponed, says Parliament’s lead MEP Cecilia Wikström. Ahead of the European Council, she also warns that Parliament will not sign off on any reform that does not change the situation on the ground.

 

Parliament’s lead MEP on the Dublin reform, Cecilia Wikstrom (ALDE, SE) said:

 

“President Tusk’s recent meddling in the legislative process on the Dublin regulation is clearly unhelpful and deeply damaging to the legislative process, as well as to the inter-institutional relations between the European Parliament and EU governments in the Council.

 

– His comments, that he would propose a way forward on the Dublin reforms if European leaders cannot agree on a position by June 2018, are arrogant and disrespectful to the European Commission, which has already put forward a proposal on Dublin reforms, as well as to the European Parliament, which has recently adopted a mandate for negotiations by a large majority.

 

– It is understandable that member states would want to try and find a consensus on such an important issue, but it is equally clear from the last 18 months of fruitless debate in the European Council that such a unanimous position will never be possible to reach, since a small number of member states are determined to obstruct any form of constructive reforms of the Dublin regulation.

 

– European leaders need to stop meddling in and blocking the legislative process on the Dublin regulation. They need to give a clear mandate to Justice and Home Affairs ministers to proceed with the legislative work as required under the treaty, in order to find a position with a broad majority that can then be negotiated with the European Parliament as co-legislator. Dragging out talks in the European Council on the Dublin regulation until June 2018 leaves almost no time for negotiations between the co-legislators before the next European Parliament elections.

 

– The European Parliament will only sign off on reforms of the Dublin regulation that change the situation on the ground and allow us to take back control over the failed asylum system. We will not repeat the errors of the past and sign off on a watered-down compromise, which is guaranteed to fail again on first contact with reality. Any new Dublin system must include an automatic relocation system, with the full participation of all member states, as well as fostering true solidarity between all member states”, Mrs Wikström ends.

 

Quick facts

 

A broad majority of MEPs endorsed Parliament’s negotiation mandate on Dublin on 16 November, calling for a mandatory relocation of asylum seekers to ensure that they are fairly distributed among member states and that the system will work on the ground.

 

Member states have still not agreed on a common position, but hope to be able to do so during the first half of 2018, after which the inter-institutional talks to reach a final compromise could begin.

 

For mor information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Press release: Council plans on new Dublin rules far from acceptable

Member states’ plans for a new Dublin system would make a compromise very difficult, warns Parliament’s chief negotiator

Estonia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, gave EU ambassadors a proposal on Wednesday for reforming the way in which the EU distributes asylum seekers among countries.

Commenting on the draft plans, Parliament’s lead MEP on the Dublin regulation Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) says:

– “I welcome the work of the Estonian presidency in attempting to reach a common position in the Council on the Dublin regulation. The proposed system however is very far from what could be an acceptable solution for the European Parliament. If the Council were to agree on such a position it would make negotiations between the co-legislators very difficult.

– The proposal currently before the Council would perpetuate the current failed ad hoc responses of the EU to the migration crisis, instead of building a permanent system which could work both in times of normal and high pressures. I would urge Member States to carefully study the position of the European Parliament, adopted with a very large majority. The Parliament will be a constructive and ambitious partner in the legislative process, but we will not accept to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

 

Quick facts

A broad majority of MEPs endorsed Parliament’s negotiation mandate on Dublin on 16 November, calling for a mandatory relocation of asylum seekers to ensure that they are fairly distributed among member states and that the system will work on the ground.

Member states have still not agreed on a common position, but hope to be able to do so during the first half of 2018, after which the inter-institutional talks in view of reaching a final compromise could begin.

The Maltese and Estonian presidencies have been sounding out member states on their views on a new asylum system. The results of these bilateral talks were presented to EU ambassadors on Wednesday 29 November.

For mor information, please contact:

Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

linda.aziz@ep.europa.eu

+32 486 94 76 82

Read more in the archive

Hearing those who don’t exist: The fight against statelessness

statelessness_picture

Statelessness will take centre stage in the European Parliament on Thursday (29 June), with two committees turning their attention to one of Europe’s most hidden and marginalised populations, write MEPs Claude Moraes and Cecilia Wikström.

Claude Moraes is chair of the European Parliament’s Justice and  Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) and Cecilia Wikström is chair of the Petitions Committee (PETI).

On Thursday, statelessness will take centre stage in the European Parliament’s LIBE and PETI committees, as its members turn their attention to one of Europe’s most hidden and marginalised populations.

read more…

Op-ed in The Parliament Magazine: Liberalism in Europe ‘facing its biggest fight’

As far-right parties gain popularity across Europe, liberals must stand together against the ‘politics of fear’, write Cecilia Wilkström, Catherine Bearder, Hans Van Baalen and Graham Watson. (Please find the link here)

Capture

Liberalism in western Europe is facing its biggest fight since the 1930s.

Last May’s European parliament elections showed just how steep the mountain we have to climb is. The forces of xenophobia and racism – the populist right across Europe – polled strongly in the UK, France and Italy and in many smaller EU member states.

Parties like the Front National in France, UKIP in the UK and the Five Star Movement in Italy all espouse a politics of division and fear and all made substantial gains.

read more…

Op-ed in The Local: Why can’t refugees travel to Sweden legally?

Op-ed in The Local, Sweden:

Refugees should not be forced to make dangerous journeys to Europe in order to seek asylum, argues Liberal Party MEP Cecilia Wikström, who also wants to see other EU states joining Sweden and Germany in taking in more people from war-torn nations.

Over 50 million people are currently displaced in the world, many of them caught in a cold and harsh winter. One fifth of these are Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately two million of the Syrian refugees are living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, where access to medical care and medication is scarce.

read more…

Read more in the archive