EU countries must do more to protect fundamental rights, including those of national minorities, LGBT people and migrants, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. The text calls for a continuous assessment of member states' compliance with basic EU values and the rule of law. It also voices concern over restrictions recently imposed in some member states on reproductive health services such as safe and legal abortion.
The resolution on fundamental rights in the EU in 2010 and 2011 was adopted by 308 votes to 229 with 48 abstentions. Before voting on the Civil Liberties Committee resolution, MEPs rejected an alternative text tabled by the EPP group.
To maintain the credibility of EU membership conditions, member states' compliance with EU fundamental values and the rule of law should be continuously assessed, says the resolution. "The implementation of values such as plurality, gender equality and the rule of law is at the core of the EU. It is our duty to protect fundamental rights and values to build up a culture of rights among EU countries and institutions", explained rapporteur Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D, SK) in a debate on Tuesday.
Access to sexual and reproductive health services
Parliament "expresses concern about recent restrictions on access to sexual and reproductive health services in some member states, in particular safe and legal abortion, sexuality education and funding cuts to family planning", says a paragraph adopted by 415 votes to 169 with 38 abstentions.
LGBT people's rights
A majority of MEPs consider that "LGBT people's fundamental rights are more likely to be safeguarded if they have access to legal institutions such as cohabitation, registered partnership or marriage". They also welcome the fact that 16 EU countries offer these options and call on other member states to consider doing so.
National minorities and migration
Parliament urges EU countries to defend the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including the right of members of linguistic minorities to use their own languages. It also regrets that Roma citizens are subjected to collective expulsions and deplores the Commission's "weak reaction" in certain cases.
The resolution also calls on member states to introduce alternatives to detaining migrants and urges EU governments to ensure effective access to healthcare, including for irregular migrants, especially pregnant women and children.
Rise of extremist parties and media freedom
MEPs are concerned about the rise of political parties which are openly racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic, owing to the economic and social crisis. They therefore call on EU countries to prosecute all forms of violence and hatred against any minority groups, including hate speech.
Finally, they deplore the deterioration of media freedom and pluralism in the EU and condemn the obstacles that some journalists face when covering demonstrations.
In a separate vote to take place on Thursday, Parliament will decide on the mandate of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013-2017.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution