The twenty-seven countries of the European Union (EU) agreed on Monday to adopt a landmark global policy on LGBTI rights. Foreign ministers from each EU country accepted the guidelines that will instruct European diplomats worldwide to defend the rights of LGBT people.
The LGBTI guidelines will now be binding on EU member countries. This follows a non-binding agreement formulated by the Council of the European Union, the body representing the twenty-seven national governments, in June 2010.
The four tenets of the policy are to eliminate discriminatory laws, to promote equality in the workplace, healthcare and education, to combat anti-LGBTI violence, and to support human rights defenders.
Both co-presidents of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, the UK’s Michael Cashman and Austria’s Ulrike Lunacek, described the agreement as hugely positive.
“We’re extremely happy with the Guidelines, and I can hardly add anything to this excellent document. The Council did an outstanding job, about which I have no reservations,” said Cashman.
“In partnership with EU delegations around the world, the European Parliament will monitor the implementation starting this autumn.”
“It is absolutely ground-breaking that the 27 foreign affairs ministers agreed to this, and only three years after the LGBT Toolkit,” said Lunacek.
“And I’m very happy the document pays particular attention to trans and intersex people, as well as lesbian and bisexual women at risk of gender-based violence.”