The EU-wide mutual recognition of same-sex unions was “not a priority for the moment”, an official from the European Commission has said at a press briefing.
And in a memo published yesterday, the European Commission failed to mention the mutual recognition of same-sex unions across EU borders as a priority for its 2010-2014 Stockholm Programme.
The Stockholm Programme lays down the Commission’s policies in the areas of justice, freedom and security for European citizens until the year 2014.
In a resolution passed last November, the European Parliament adopted a clear position on the issue of mutual recognition. The resolution states that “without prejudice to national legislation on family law”, the Stockholm Programme will have to “ensure freedom of movement for EU citizens and their families, including both registered partnerships and marriages, […] and to avoid all kinds of discrimination on any ground, including sexual orientation”
Co-president of the European Parliament’s all-party ‘Intergroup on LGBT Rights’, Ulrike Lunacek MEP (Austria), pointed out today that during their January hearings, Commissioners Cecilia Malmström and Viviane Reding both committed themselves to full equality for European citizens, including on grounds of gender and sexual orientation.
“Indeed, Viviane Reding explicitly said that same-sex couples must retain the same rights when moving across the EU,” Ms. Lunacek said.
“It seems they are now shying away from these dossiers because they are controversial for some national governments. It would be unacceptable that LGBT families be, again, asked to wait for equal rights.”
Michael Cashman MEP (UK) the other co-president of the Intergroup, was also critical of the Commissioners.
“It is scandalous that an official from the European Commission can state that countering discrimination of its citizens is ‘not a priority’. Commissioners Reding and Malmström must now give a clear lead on the demands of the Parliament with regards to the Stockholm Programme, and begin the process of ensuring that all citizens, including LGBT families, enjoy genuine freedom of movement across the EU. This is fundamental,” he said.
Both co-presidents pledged that the European Parliament and the Intergroup on LGBT Rights would closely monitor the implementation of the Stockholm Programme.