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The European Parliament declares the EU a "freedom zone for LGBTIQ people"

On 11 March 2021, the European Parliament declared the EU a "LGBTIQ Freedom Zone". The resolution, which is not binding on member states, was adopted by a majority of 492 votes. 141 MEPs voted against and 46 abstained. The Bulgarian MEPs who supported the resolution were:

  • The whole group of DPS, consisting of Atije Aliyeva - Veli, Ilkhan Kyuchyuk, Iskra Mihaylova

  • The whole BSP group, consisting of - Elena Yoncheva, Sergey Stanishev, Ivo Hristov, Petar Vitanov and Tsvetelina Penkova

  • Radan Kanev from DSB

  • Andrey Kovatchev from GERB

Angel Dzhambazki (VMRO) and Andrei Slabakov (VMRO) voted against the resolution.

The EP resolution is a result of the growing hatred against LGBTI people in countries like Poland and Hungary, and in particular because of the growing number of Polish regions, counties and municipalities that have passed resolutions declaring themselves free from "LGBTI ideology" since 2019. Since 2019, there have been over 100 such zones declared in Poland, where local governments should refrain from promoting tolerance of LGBTIQ individuals and calling for the withdrawal of financial support from organisations promoting non-discrimination and equality. According to MEPs, these areas in Poland are part of widespread discrimination, attacks and hate speech against LGBTIQ people coming from public authorities, the current President and the pro-government media. MEPs also highlight the worsening situation with concrete examples from Poland, which include arrests of LGBTIQ people, attacks and a ban on Pride marches in the country.

Although the EP resolution is rather wishful for the member states, it expresses the firm position of the majority of MEPs that they will fight for the rights of LGBTIQ people in Europe. For this reason, the EP also recommends that the European Commission use all available instruments, including infringement procedures, Article 7 of the EU Treaty, and the recently adopted EU Budget Protection Regulation, to counter violations of the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people in the EU.

A reminder that on March 4, 2021, Adv. Denitsa Lyubenova from the team of the LGBTI organization Action took part in a webinar "Implementing the rights of LGBTI people in the European Union: legislation and litigation", organized by the political group Renew Europe. The webinar was attended by MEPs who expressed their readiness for legislative amendments to EU law to guarantee the rights of LGBTIQ people within the European Union.

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