Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
The Commission understands that no decision has been taken so far by the UK Government in the case raised by the Honourable Members and that the discussion is still ongoing. It cannot, therefore, make any assessment of that case at this stage.
The Commission recalls, however, in general terms that Commission Directive 2004/33/EC(1), which implements Directive 2002/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(2) as regards certain technical requirements for blood and blood components, establishes in its Annex III that blood establishments in Member States should defer as donors ‘persons whose sexual behaviour puts them at high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases that can be transmitted by blood.’ The Commission notes, in this respect, that ‘sexual behaviour’ is not identical with ‘sexual orientation’.
The Commission also recalls that the Member States are obliged to implement these Directives in full respect of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and notably of its Article 21 which prohibits discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. They must do so also when maintaining or introducing more stringent protective measures under Article 4(2) of Directive 2002/98/EC.
The Commission will closely follow developments this matter.