LGBT & EU Legislation: An Overview of the Recent Developments

By Júlia-Janka Gáspárik 

The EU’s motto is “United in Diversity”[1], which means that it is a shared community, but member states also preserve their national characteristics. At the same time, this motto can also sum up one of the biggest problems of the EU: the definition of the limit between having common laws and undermining a country’s sovereignty. LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) rights are a very delicate part of the EU legislation, trapped somewhere between universal (and EU-protected) human rights and national sovereignty. The EU – opting towards an ever-closer union – is trying to bring together its member states with social policies in order to reach an integrated society also on the cultural level, and not only on the economic and monetary ones. On the other hand, anti-LGBT/pro-traditional family groups often use the argument of sovereignty against the common EU LGBT framework[2]. This is what partially makes this issue of LGBT so complicated: some people argue that this minority should be protected with a stronger mechanism at EU level, while others say that it would undermine their countries’ sovereignty.

The European Union law mentions the issue of LGBT only in terms of discrimination: discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal and rights pertaining to this aspect are protected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU[3]. NGOs and civil right organizations are fighting for the rights of the LGBT people. However, since the attitude towards sexual orientation is considered to be a cultural-societal-religious issue, the EU has not established a compulsory legal framework in any of its member states. On the other hand, it can be argued that this is not a societal issue but one of fundamental rights. When learning about LGBT in the EU, it also becomes clear that the main obstacle in not introducing the civil union and same sex marriages in some European countries is the predominant position of religious values in that state[4].
This article explores the complex issue of LGBT rights in the EU and the member states by examining the issues’ cultural and human rights facade. It will be illustrated with one case, namely the recent case of Coman-Hamilton (Relu Adrian Coman and Others v Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări and Others). Continue reading “LGBT & EU Legislation: An Overview of the Recent Developments”

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The Americorner: EU launches new campaign to retain its 28 member structure

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The EU has always had an upward trend in terms of membership…. until recently. Graphic by Kolja21.

Ryan Minett

With the United Kingdom bound to leave in the near future, the European Union is working on a daring plan to keep 28 member states. With Brexit approaching and no suitable candidates for accession to the European Union, the European Parliament has decided to split off a part of one of the remaining 27 members in order to keep 28 member states. Federica Mogherini remarks, “We have had an upward trend in regards to membership in the European Community, and we will not allow one referendum to get in the way of that.”

In regards to how this would play out in reality, the Parliament has offered a few suggestions. Among the more obvious options we have Cyprus, who would require the least effort to split up, and Germany, who already has plenty of precedent when it comes to dividing their country. Other suggestions include splitting Holland from the rest of the Netherlands “because then everyone would finally have to get the names right”, Wallonia from the rest of Belgium “because now everyone knows that Wallonia actually exists anyway”, and Paris from the rest of France. One of the earliest suggestions from German MEP Frauke Petry was to split Czechoslovakia in half before she was informed that this had already been achieved. As for the obvious choices like Catalonia, the Parliament shot this idea down immediately. President Martin Schulz said, “If we give Catalonia their independence, next thing you know the Bavarians will want independence and maybe even the Basque. We are committed to 28 Member States, 29 is just a nasty number.”

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Yugoslavia is a good example of the ease with which the EU’s new plan could be implemented. Here is a graphic of just some of the divisions it has made since 1989. Image by Hoshie.

Mogherini sounded upbeat about this radical plan despite the lack of specifics or tangible details. “Europeans arbitrarily creating new borders has a long history of success. Just look at the old colonies- look how successful that has been.” This is expected to be a top priority of the European Union in 2017 and they have asked the European public for their opinion. The EU has set up a hotline for suggestions at, +32(0)X XX XXXXX, for anyone wishing to have their voice heard.

Featured picture: construction of the Berlin Wall.

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The Americorner: Christmas Cancelled? The CENTA Free Trade Agreement between the EU and North Pole Region Narrowly Avoids Collapse

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Christmas is very important for EU-NP trade relations. Source: Richard Fabi

Ryan Minett

After years of negotiation, CENTA (Comprehensive European/Northern-Atlantic Trade Agreement), a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the North Pole, appeared to be in jeopardy after Belgium was temporarily unable to secure the backing necessary to sign on. Belgium has reportedly been under heavy pressure from the French-speaking region of Wallonia who have decided that they cannot support this agreement. North Pole’s Prime Minister Mr S. Claus was to fly in Thursday morning to sign the agreement in Brussels, but had to postpone due to the unexpected delay. The Head Ambassador of the North Pole, a Mr Patrius Palivius Elf, comments on the situation, “This is obviously disappointing, but with enough spirit, I believe that we can pull this deal off.”

Indeed across Europe many are praising Walloon’s resistance to CENTA, saying that CENTA gives too much power to large corporations. Speaking on the Clause in question, Wallonia’s minister-president, Paul Magnette, said “This trade agreement gives too much power to the big boss and does not do enough to protect the little people.” Working conditions in the North Pole are notoriously poor with long working hours, minimal time off, and deplorably small living quarters.

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The Euroculturer’s undercover reporter had trouble adjusting: Source: Elf (2003)

Our undercover investigative journalist brings to light even more possible violations as the working population is force fed sugar to keep them active and working, and the school systems are dangerously close to propaganda. A report from Amnesty International speaks to the schooling system conditions, saying that the students “sing nationalistic songs, praise their glorious leader, and wear demeaning uniforms all day, every day.”

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The environmental impact of the North Pole Factory Operations has also been a source of opposition for left leaning Europeans. Source: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs

Despite these allegations and Wallonia’s resistance, the delay is now over and the agreement seems to be back on track. A relieved Juncker commented on the situation, “Honestly, with everything that has happened in the last few months, it’s just nice to have a win for the EU.”

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Streets of the downtown Brussels decorated for the upcomming Christmas- Just in time for CENTA. Source: Mstyslav Chernov

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