The European Parliament has called on Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo to improve their LGBT rights record in order to progress toward full EU membership.
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Rapporteur for the integration process of Kosovo and Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup at the European Parliament, added: “These accession reports show the European Union is more committed than ever to the respect of fundamental rights, regardless of people’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Now the Commission must take note of these recommendations, and closely monitor developments for LGBT rights in 2012.
“In the European Parliament and especially the LGBT Intergroup we will follow developments, and insist that progress is essential for LGBT people to be able to live their lives and loves without fear.”
This comes as part of the European Union’s 2012 accession report which was released last week.
Currently Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro are official candidates for EU membership, while Kosovo remains a potential candidate. The report assesses the countries’ applications and what they need to do to be in compliance with EU laws.
In terms of LGBT rights the European Parliament called on Turkey to ensure equal protection of citizens regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation and stressed that this was particularly important where police conduct was concerned.
The resolution also stipulated a need to include sexual orientation and gender identity coverage in the country’s hate crimes law. It also called on the Turkish Armed Forces to cease classifying homosexuality as a “psychosexual illness.”
Where Serbia is concerned, EU officials expressed deep concern regarding the “lack of political will” to allow citizens the freedom to hold a pride parade. A parade was cancelled in 2011 by police who cited safety concerns after a 2010 parade was marred by violence.
The resolution “strongly” condemned “inflammatory and discriminatory remarks” regarding LGBT rights made “by some politicians and members of the Orthodox clergy.”
The Montenegro resolution, while noting work that could still be done by the country, stressed the positive steps Montenegro has taken in the past year, praising the adoption of a sexual orientation-inclusive nondiscrimination law.
The resolution on Kosovo focused on the country’s lack of sexual orientation and gender identity-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, saying that discrimination is “still a serious problem in the country.”
The resolution “calls on the Government to implement a broad anti-discrimination strategy” that must be LGBT inclusive.