Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights dismayed by decisions and justifications of Vilnius’ mayor

Michael Cashman, President of the EP Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, highlighted that now the European Commission had become a victim, “The Commission experiences at first hand what it’s like to be gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender. The Commission now feels the force of homophobia. The Government of Lithuania must act and abide by the Treaties. The Commission itself must defend the Treaties and minorities otherwise the flames of hatred which were ignited in Poland and are now spreading to Lithuania will continue crossing our continent.”

Lissy Gröner, PES Vice-President, openly questioned the wisdom of placing the new European Gender Institute in Vilnius: “Regarding the unacceptable situation in Vilnius now and the fact that the mayor opposes the European equality policy, I doubt, in my capacity as rapporteur for the Gender Institute, that the Council took the right decision for Vilnius as the seat for the European Gender Institute.”

Sophie in `t Veld, ALDE Vice-President of the Intergroup, called upon the Commission to respond without hesitation: “The Commission does not hesitate to charge in with the cavalry to fight cartels or anti-competitive practices. In the European Year of Equal Opportunities the Commission must demonstrate that it enforces all European laws, not just the economic ones. Banning a peaceful demonstration was ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, the activity was organised and funded in the context of the European Year. The Commission must ensure proper execution of the programmes.”

Raul Romeva, Greens Vice-President of the Intergroup, stated: ‘This decision by a local EU authority, together with other similar decisions coming from mayors and officials in other EU countries such as those trying to promote in Poland a law banning LGBT people to become professors or in Latvia not allowing Gay Prides to run normally, show the homophobia in the EU is a serious matter and needs to be taken very seriously by EU authorities, particularly the Commission and the Council. It can not further be seen as a Member State competence given this, in fact, supposes a clear violation of the basic Treaties.”