We are presenting you the first ever EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy.
It is first of its kind and its main aim is to address inequality and discrimination faced by LGBTIQ persons in Europe.
We see progress in a number of Member States. For instance many have legally recognised same-sex couples, which offers legal certainty in case of sharing of health information or inheritance.
But we are also seeing some worrying trends.
Still today in the EU, More than 50% of LGBTIQ are almost never or rarely open about who they are. It means they are afraid to admit what they feel; they are afraid of the social stigma that comes with the ‘coming out'.
In 2019, as many as 43% of LGBTIQ people felt discriminated against as compared with 37% in 2012.
Too many people cannot be themselves without fear of discrimination, exclusion or violence.
There is a worrying trend in Europe of incidents such as attacks on Pride marches and the adoption of the so called ‘LGBTIQ ideology-free zone' declarations.
We understand that during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the situation may have gotten worse, because many LGBTIQ young people find themselves locked into hostile environments, where they are at risk of violence or increasing levels of anxiety or depression.
With this Strategy, we want to promote a Europe of “equality for all”.
We want to ensure that everyone in Europe
-has equal opportunities to reach their full potential; and
-takes an active part in society.
The first thing we want to achieve is that the existing anti-discrimination laws must be fully applied and respected. This is why we will assess how this works in practice in all the Member States. If we find any gaps, we will act.
But this is not all. To improve LGBTIQ safety we will put on the table a proposal to extend the list of Eurocrimes, to include also homophobic hate crime and hate speech.
It will include also homophobic hate speech online. Sexual orientation is the most commonly reported ground of hate speech. The platforms are reporting around 33%, because we are collecting the data on regular basis, which helps us to monitor the situation. We are also receiving this data from the NGOs, which are also monitoring the situation in IT platforms.
Further, we will address persisting difficulties of rainbow families.
Substantive family law falls under the competence of Member States and we fully respect that.
However, EU legislation on family law applies in cross-border cases or in cases with cross border implications.
Due to differences in family laws across Member States, family ties may cease to be recognised when rainbow families cross the EU's internal borders. And then all of sudden, your child may stop being your child once you cross the border. This is not acceptable.
We will ensure the rigorous application of EU family law in cross-border cases.
And we will adopt proposal to ensure recognition of children-parent relations in cross boarder situations, which will include rainbow families.
This is not about ideology, this is not about being men or women; this is about love.
These are only few elements of the Strategy. Helena will give you more details.
Let me just conclude by saying that this strategy is not against anyone. This does not put anyone on the pedestal but it is about guaranteeing safety and non-discrimination for everyone. This is about Europe in the 21st It's 2020 and hate and discrimination of people from sexual minorities really does not belong to Europe of these days.