EU statement at the thematic debate “Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” (18/09/2012)

Committee of Ministers’ Deputies 1151st meeting on 18-19 September 2012

The European Union is concerned by and condemns intolerance and discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons in member countries of the Council of Europe. Such discrimination is not acceptable in today's Europe and violates human rights. All human rights including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly apply equally to all persons including LGBT people. The European Union condemns every expression of homophobia and transphobia.

The EU strongly supports the Council of Europe's action aiming at combating all forms of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. The EU is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Council of Europe in this field - as it is mentioned in the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy – on the basis of complementarity. In particular the EU is prepared to develop a strategy on how to cooperate with third countries, including within the Council of Europe. 

Concerning possible cooperation measures, the EU welcomes the Secretary General's suggestion contained in document SG/Inf(2012)24 to expand to all Council of Europe's member states the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s methodology on LGBT data collection.

The EU also looks forward to the review of implementation of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, an important reference document for member states of the Council of Europe and also for the EU.

The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Andorra, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.