The European Parliament building in Strasbourg.

The European Parliament has confirmed that upholding LGBT rights is a condition for nations to join the European Union (EU).

Last week, the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted reports on Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey joining the EU.

All three reports call on the candidate countries to provide genuine protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minorities, and remind candidate countries that the protection of all minorities is a non-negotiable condition to access the European Union.

The report on Croatia conveys the European Parliament’s concern about the 2009 de facto ban on Zagreb Pride, and calls on the Government to effectively implement and enforce protection against discrimination.

The report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia expresses the European Parliament’s regret that the country’s proposed new anti-discrimination legislation does not cover sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of discrimination, and calls on the Government to bring their anti-discrimination legislation in line with EU standards.

Finally, the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey points to the shortcomings of the Turkish penal code, allowing for the persecution of LGBT minorities and the limitation of their freedom of assembly.

“I am happy that our amendments in favour of LGBT rights in the progress reports for Macedonia and Croatia were adopted by the European Parliament,” said Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, added: “Accession criteria are crystal clear: minorities must be protected from discrimination as laid out in Article 19 of the Treaty—and that includes sexual orientation. This is not an à la carte menu: it is at the core of the European Union, and we will be rigorous in its application.”

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