As May 17 marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the European Union pays tribute to human diversity in all its richness, and the right of every human person to be proud of who they are, to define their own identity and to choose to be with the ones they love. Once again the EU buildings are lit up in rainbow colours. This year, this colourful icon of optimism is two-fold as it is also being used as a symbol of hope and support during the Covid-19 crisis, which has increased the vulnerability of LGBTI+ persons as victims of hostilities, including being forced to move back into unsafe domestic spaces.
Sanctions are wrongfully blamed for impeding Syria’s medical response to Covid-19. The EU Commission has published detailed guidance on how Coronavirus-related humanitarian aid can be sent to countries and areas around the world that are subject to EU sanctions. The note should speed up the channelling of equipment and assistance to fight the Coronavirus pandemic in Syria.
On 9 May, we mark Europe Day. The 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration offers a chance to reflect on what European integration means and on the EU’s role in the world. I want to use this blog post to do this from a personal angle, to set out why Europe as an idea and political project is worth defending.