Sunday, 1 April 2012

EP LGBT Intergroup: European Parliament stands up for same-sex families’ free movement
March 29th, 2012

Today the European Parliament adopted its annual report on EU citizenship, in which it laments that same-sex couples and their families still face disproportionate obstacles when moving inside the European union.
Adina-Ioana Valean MEPIn the EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights, the European Parliament “reiterates its previous calls for Member States to ensure freedom of movement for all EU citizens and their families, without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or nationality”.
Specifically, the Parliament reminds Member States that they must implement the rights granted under the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC), not only to married heterosexual couples, but also to registered partners and same-sex spouses.
Currently, several Member States discriminate against same-sex couples who want to move or travel to their territory, despite the EU law asking that they be treated the same way as different-sex couples.

The Parliament further “calls on the Commission [...] to ensure that the Directive is strictly applied”. The text had previously been deleted, but was reintroduced today by a majority of MEPs.
Adina-Ioana Vălean MEP, Rapporteur for the text, commented: “My report makes clear what Parliament has known for over four years now: same-sex couples face serious obstacles to their free movement, which is a pillar of the European Union.
“If we are serious about the European project, the Commission needs to address this situation, as well as other obstacles faced by the citizens when exercising their rights, such as the portability of social benefits, recognition of diplomas and inheritance tax.”
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, further explained: “A mother should never be refused entry to her child’s hospital room because her parental authority isn’t recognised. We are not trying to impose same-sex marriage across the EU. Quite simply, what we want is what all decent, fair-minded people want: that a family—any family—be able to travel or live anywhere in the EU without the risk of being separated from their loved ones.”
2013 will be declared the European Year of EU Citizenship.
Read more:
  • Further to today’s vote, paragraph 8 will read as follows:
“Repeats its previous calls to the Member States to ensure freedom of movement for all EU citizens and their families, without discrimination on grounds of their sexual orientation or nationality; repeats its call to Member States to implement fully the rights granted under Articles 2 and 3 of Directive 2004/38/EC not only to different-sex spouses, but also to the registered partner, member of the household or partner with whom an EU citizen has a duly attested, stable relationship, including members of same-sex couples, on the basis of the principles of mutual recognition, equality, non-discrimination, dignity and respect for private and family life; in that connection, calls on the Commission to ensure that the directive is strictly applied,”


Remove obstacles to EU citizens' rights, say MEPs

PLENARY SESSION Citizens' rights − 29-03-2012 - 14:07

EU Member States and the European Commission must to do more to enforce EU citizens' basic rights, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Thursday. These rights include moving to and living in another Member State, standing for and voting in European Parliament and local elections, equal treatment and petitioning the European Parliament.

The text highlights persistent problems in areas such as free movement, the recognition of professional qualifications, access to information, non-discrimination, electoral rights and the free circulation of civil-status documents.

"In recent years, an increasing number of petitions have been registered in the European Parliament with regard to problems encountered by EU citizens in exercising their right to free movement. There is a large gap between the expectations of citizens who take free movement for granted and the legislation to be respected. To achieve free movement, Member States need to be pushed to do it", said rapporteur Adina-Ioana Vălean (ALDE, RO) in a debate preceding the vote.

Free movement for Romanian and Bulgarian workers, too

MEPs call on Member States to remove existing legal and practical barriers to the free movement of citizens and not to introduce unjustified administrative procedures. They also urge the Commission to assess free movement policies within the EU. 7 A voluntary European professional card could serve as a tool for facilitating mobility among Europeans and provide a model for a "Europe of citizens", says the resolution.

In this context, Parliament calls on EU countries that continue to restrict the access of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to their labour markets, to review their decisions as soon as possible, taking into account "the principle of equality, the prohibition of discrimination, the unjustified nature of those decisions and the principle of solidarity".

Minority groups

EU countries should abolish policies and annul laws that discriminate minorities, such as the Roma, on the grounds of race and ethnicity, says the text, adding that Member States and the EU need to take joint responsibility for promoting and facilitating the integration of Roma communities, giving them the same rights and obligations as other EU citizens.

MEPs also stress that mass expulsions breach the free movement directive, as well as contravening the European Union's basic values and principles.

People with disabilities

Almost 80 million people with disabilities in the EU still face obstacles when they exercise their right of free movement as EU citizens. Parliament calls on Member States to eliminate these barriers and propose to establish an Erasmus-type programme for people with disabilities.

Same-sex couples

MEPs inserted an amendment reiterating their call for Member States to implement fully the rights granted not only to different-sex spouses, but also to registered partners, members of the household of an EU citizen and partners who are in a duly attested stable relationship with an EU citizen, including members of same-sex couples, on the basis of the principles of mutual recognition, equality, non-discrimination, dignity and respect for private and family life.

Electoral rights

MEPs recognise that there are a number of obstacles that prevent EU citizens from making full use of their electoral rights when residing in a country other than their own. Member States should improve the rules governing elections, says the text, stressing that more direct participation by citizens through European political parties is a decisive step towards achieving "more" Europe and a more authentic democracy.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
REF. : 20120328IPR42056

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