Dutch MEP: “The European Commission chose a technocratic approach to the limitations of LGBT* rights in Lithuania”

On the 26th of February, 2015 the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) had a debate on the Lithuanian anti-propaganda law and the situation of the rights of LGBT* people in Lithuania. Dutch Member of the European Parliament Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE/D66) asked for a debate with the European Commissioners after the answers to the written parliamentary questions where both passed the deadline and unsatisfactory.

Sophie In ‘t Veld reacts: “The Commission chooses a minimalist, technocratic approach to the matter, only verifying if the law is in line with an EU directive on media. But the aim is not enforcement of a mere media law, but enforcement of the fundamental values of the European Union, laid down in Article 2 of the Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

“Now the Commission has to demonstrate it will protect citizens if their rights are violated by national governments. We expect Vice-President Timmermans to put his money where his mouth is, stand up for citizens’ rights and equality, and have the courage to take on governments that do not uphold the European values.”

According to Vladimir Simonko, Board Chair of the national LGBT* rights organization LGL, the ‘homosexual propaganda’ law not only violates the EU acquis, but is also contrary to the principle of equality enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic Lithuania. “Discrimination on grounds of, inter alia, sexual orientation and gender identity, is incompatible with the key principles of a democratic society. In this difficult geopolitical situation, the Lithuanian authorities have to decide, whether we stand with the ideal of democracy or we surrender to fear, ignorance and censorship”, Vladimir Simonko says.