European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Europarliament excludes sexual orientation from equality statement for its secretariat

The European Parliament's bureau which comprised of the president and seven vice-presidents, has adopted a declaration of principles regarding diversity in the secretariat but voted to exclude sexual orientation. These principles are guidelines for the European Parliament’s staff.

The proposal to include sexual orientation by Gérard Onesta (Green-EFA – France) was rejected by members of the bureau. The votes were:

    4 against: Ingo Friedrich (EPP – Germany), Alejo Vidal-Quadras (EPP – Spain), Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann (EUL - Germany) and Antonios Trakatellis (EPP – Greece),
    2 in favour: Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (PSE – Germany) and Gérard Onesta (Green-EFA – France),
    2 abstentions: Parliament’s President Josep Borrel Fontelles (PES – Spain) and Jacek Emil Saryusz-Wolski (EPP – Poland)

ILGA-Europe has received this news with disconcert and incomprehension. Equality and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union. The European Parliament was one of the most active institutions to ensure this principle is included in the Union’s treaty and legislation. The European Parliament is also one of the most vocal institutions working to ensure that equality and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation are applied fairly and firmly by all member states.

Deborah Lambillotte, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board said:

“We are more than surprised by such a decision. The omission of sexual orientation by the Parliament seems to be matching recent bad scores on diversity, equality and anti-discrimination by some of the member states. The principle which is now an integral part of the EU body of law and compulsory for the member states was completely disregarded and ignored by a disgraceful vote by the European Parliament's secretariat.

This demonstrates that the 2007 "European Year of Equal Opportunities for All" needs to be taken even more seriously. It also points out the issue of differences between the letter of the directive and its application by EU structures themselves and the European Parliament should take a lead and creates positive exampes rather than departing from agreed fundamental principles."

Ends

For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe.

(2) The ban on sexual orientation discrimination was agreed by the heads of governments of all 15 member states and was incorporated into Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. In 2000, a Directive explicitly banning sexual orientation discrimination in employment was adopted.