Latvia – me hassling MEP’s

Lawmakers in Latvia have defied the European Union and refused to introduce a law banning discrimination at work on sexual orientation grounds.

Agreeing to introduce the law on employment discrimination was a condition for Latvia’s accession to the European Union in 2004.

But MPs refused to implement it in full after a parliamentary debate where homosexuality was described as a sin.

Latvia recently made constitutional changes to prevent same-sex marriages.

‘Degenerate’ slur

Latvian politicians voted not to include specific reference to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation after a long and heated debate, which included some stridently anti-homosexual language.

Story here (BBC)

Okay i read that on and decided to email all the Irish MEP’s about it. This is what I’ve gotten back so far.

So far I have gotten responses from Marian Harkin’s (ind) and Mairead McGuinness’s (FG) Assistants sayin that they will bring it too their attention.

Jim Higgins (FG) sent me a Thank you and a hope that Latvia will comply (from an assistant) and a statement from the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.

Michael Cashman, President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian rights has reacted angrily to yet another example of an EU Member State flagrantly defying its EU obligations.

The West Midlands Labour MEP was incensed to learn that Latvia’s parliament had voted this week against the introduction of a law on employment discrimination. One of the entry conditions placed upon Latvia’s entry into the EU in 2004 was that country took measures against discrimination in the workplace.

Michael said:

“I intend to pursue this blatant disregard for EU laws with renewed vigour. Latvia must respect EU laws or she will be dragged kicking and screaming to the Court of Justice.”

“The values of the EU are based on the determination that we will never again allow one group or minority to be scapegoats. The history of the second world war teaches us that if we fail to defend one another then collectively we will perish.”

“The LGBT community has been an easy target. Aided and abetted by religion, our rights and our freedoms have been attacked, denied and washed away. No more”, insisted Michael.

This week the EP once again sent a powerful signal to all Member States and to the Council of Ministers that homophobia and homophobic attacks must be brought to an end.

Michael concluded:

“Latvia has signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Union. If she fails to abide by that legally binding treaty then ultimately sanctions could follow.”

“However, I do not believe that these extremist politicians represent the decent civilised majority of Latvian citizens. Decency will prevail.”

Mary Lou McDonald (SF) responded to me personally saying she will lay a question to the commission on the subject to see what course of action they will take and will get back to me.

Got a second email from Marian Harkin’s (Ind) Assistant, saying that she has heard from Latvian collegues that the Prime Minister has asked the Parliament to review the position they took.

Just got an email from Pronsias De Rossa (Lab) and hes going to raise it within the PSE to see what they can do to ensure Latvia complies with its membership commitments.

Pronsias De Rossa (Lab) assistant also emailed. He sent me the text of the resolution passed last week on racism and homophobia (which i posted here). Also the socialist group has written to the social affairs commissioner asking what the commission intends to do about Latvia’s decision as it contravenes EC Treaty (art.13) and also the EC’s equaltiy directive.

Im still waiting for: Simon Coveney (FG), Brian Crowley (FF), Avril Doyle (FG), Kathy Sinnott (Ind), Liam Aylward (FF), Eoin Ryan (FF) and Séan O’Neachtain (FF) to get back to me

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for and UCC Express.

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