The results of the survey launched by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in April 2012 were announced on 17 May 2013. The survey, in which 93 000 European Union residents took part, provides a more accurate picture of the situation for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) in the Union and what type of strategy should be drawn up to combat homophobia and discrimination more effectively.
The results of this study show that, on average, 47% of LGBT people felt that they had been discriminated against or harassed, with the percentage rising to 61% in Lithuania, which is sadly placed at the top of the list of European countries in this regard. A quick glance at these figures is enough to prompt a reflection on equality as a fundamental right and principle in our democracy, but one which is severely weakened when millions of people in the Union feel that they have suffered discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One of the areas explored in this large-scale survey is education, where the figures show that homophobic and transphobic harassment in educational settings is widespread. More than 90% of respondents said that they had witnessed jeers or negative comments against a schoolmate who was perceived to be LGBT.
The European Parliament has spoken out on issues of equality, sexual orientation and gender identity on several occasions, one prominent example being the resolution of 24 May 2012 on the fight against homophobia in Europe(1), given its close links to the findings of the FRA study. Both the resolution and the results of the survey highlight the fact that European society does not fully accept the application of the principle of equality in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. This is unacceptable, and the Council should prioritise the issue and relaunch work on the directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, which is currently blocked owing to the objections of certain Member States.
What steps will the Council take finally to unblock work on the directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation?