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

Press release: Parliament presents its proposals to revise European asylum rules

The European Parliament has today adopted its position on the revision of the Dublin Regulation, after a vote by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Thursday morning. The position was approved with a vast majority. MEP Cecilia Wikström (ALDE/SWE) is leading the revision and urges the European Council to adopt its position so that negotiations can start:

“The European asylum system is one of the key issues determining how Europe’s future will develop. As rapporteur, my goal is to create a truly new asylum system based on solidarity with clear rules and incentives to follow them, both for the asylum seekers and for all Member States.

The new Dublin Regulation must ensure that all countries share responsibility for asylum seekers. Furthermore it must also guarantee that all member states with external borders – the first place of arrival in Europe for most refugees – will take their responsibility in registering all arriving people, as well as protecting and maintaining the external borders of the EU.

It is time to put an end to a system in which refugees are forced into the hands of unscrupulous human traffickers who smuggle them through Europe. I urge the Council of Ministers to take a common position as soon as possible, so that trialogue negotiations can begin and a well-functioning, truly new European asylum system can be put into place as soon as possible.”

For more information, please contact

Sándor Blaskó

Tel : +32 2 283 00 89

Mob : +32 483 04 97 89

Statement on on the situation in Spain and Catalonia

It is time for the EU play an active role in the negotiations between Spain and the Catalonian movement for independence. I am expecting the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who has so far taken an unacceptably passive role regarding this issue, to strongly condemn the unjustified violence against the citizens who participated in the referendum last weekend. Even though the referendum was deemed illegal by to the Constitutional Court of Spain, the reaction and brutality exerted by the police was disproportional and unacceptable. The conflict no longer concerns independence, but has now become an issue of democracy and human rights.

I am expecting the EU to take on a unifying role and to negotiate between all political parties. It is time to de-escalate the conflict between the government of Spain and the people of Catalonia, who are fighting for independence. Within the EU, we solve our conflicts with dialogues and negotiations.

Today, Wednesday, at 3 PM the issue is debated in the European Parliament.

Video: ALDE #ValuesFirst

The European Union is built on values! The core of the project is democracy, rule of law, international solidarity, collaboration and fundamental rights. These are the building blocks of our collaboration. During the spring’s many elections across Europe, we’ve seen how populists have been trying to fragment and divide our union and communities with their hateful rhetoric. That is why it is so important that we Europeans that stand for openness dare to stand up for diversity, equality, and pluralism. That is how we build a strong Europe together! #ValuesFirst

EP VoxBox Debate on Statelessness

Imagine growing up without a nationality? With the large numbers of refugees in the world, more people than ever find themselves stateless. After our joint committee hearing on the issue last week, I sat down with my colleague Claude Moraes, as well as Chris Nash, Director of the European Network on Statelessness and Melanie Khanna, UNHCR Head of Section for Statelessness, to discuss this important issue.