Last week, the European Commission made a u-turn by announcing that it would not support a ”horizontal” directive that would protect all citizens from all types of discrimination, including homophobia. The Young European Federalists (JEF) strongly condemn this approach which yet again demonstrates the institution’s inability to stand tall in front of national governments and failing to respond to the democratic will of the European people.
”Human and civil rights are the basic principles of modern democracies,” acclaimed Samuele Pii, President of JEF-Europe. ”The Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaties ask the European Union to fight all sorts of discrimination including sexual orientation” continued Pii. Moreover, the European Parliament has called on the Commission to adopt a directive covering all grounds of discrimination in all sectors. Yet, the Commission refuses to implement the will of the majority of Europeans to protect discriminated minorities as a consequence of pressure from various national governments.
”Human rights are a fundamental cornerstone of the European Community” commented Joonas Turunen, President JEF Finland. ”There are still European citizens facing discrimination and even violence because of their sexual orientation. The EU must have the legislative leverage to force all member countries to respect human rights also when it comes to sensitive issues such as sexuality. How could the EU promote human rights and freedom globally, when it is unwilling to guarantee them to all Europeans?” Turunen continued.
As a youth organization committed to improve democratic participation and human rights in Europe, JEF promotes the recognition of equal rights between all citizens and strongly condemns homophobia. ”JEF considers the attitude of the European Commission extremely worrying – comments Pii -. This situation clearly shows that they consider potential vetoes by national governments more relevant than our founding treaties and recommendations democratically adopted by the European Parliament.”
To increase awareness on discrimination and violence against LGBT people, JEF welcomes the actions taken on the 17th of May, the International Day Against Homophobia. ”This kind of initiative allows citizens to make their voice heard across national borders showing that civil rights, freedom and justice belong to mankind and not to national governments,” concluded Samuele Pii.

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