A Step Further towards an Illiberal Europe: Italy did not Sign EU Declaration on LGBTQI Persons

Italy rejected the EU Declaration on LGBTQI human rights, citing it as unbalanced, while nine other EU countries rejected the final proposal.

A Step Further towards an Illiberal Europe: Italy did not Sign EU Declaration on LGBTQI Persons
Source: Markus Spiske via Pexels 2024.

12-05-2024

Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

 

 

Italy, May 17, 2024 – On Friday, Italy did not accept to adhere to the EU Declaration on the continued advancement of the human rights of LGBTQI persons that was proposed in the context of the European Union. The paper, adopted on the occasion of the World Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, was deemed by the Italian government as being “very unbalanced” and was criticised for mirroring the bill previously submitted by the centre-left Democratic Party (DP) Deputy Alessandro Zan.

The Declaration, presented to the twenty-seven country bloc by the Belgian Presidency called upon signatory states to renew their commitment to several ambits, including legal protection, safeguarding of fundamental rights, combating misinformation and discrimination, access to healthcare services, work on social acceptance; and also served as a reminder for states to adopt and/or update the national action plans to be in conformity with the European Commission’s LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025. However, ahead of an impassioned plea for wider recognition of the Rainbow community’s fundamental freedoms and human rights, nine countries took a step back, with Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Italy rejecting the final proposal. Among others, it is the verdict pronounced by Georgia Meloni’s administration that provoked the greatest backlash. The Italian Family Minister, Eugenia Roccella, who is part of Georgia Meloni’s party, Fratelli d’Italia, defended the government’s stand by claiming that the Declaration in question belies an “ideological constraint and a denial of reality because the reality of the body and sexual affiliation cannot be changed to the end.”

The discontent sparked particularly among domestic political forces, with major representatives of the opposition denouncing a further laceration of democracy, and a crusade against rights and freedoms allegedly pursued by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni since her coming to office. In this strained scenario, ILGA-Europe, the international non-governmental umbrella organisation fighting for LGBTQI freedoms, classified the European countries based on 75 criteria, in order to quantify the level of tolerance and quality of laws and policies for LGBTQI persons in Europe since 2009. With Italy losing two positions in the ranking and approaching the Hungary of Viktor Orbán, and with several European countries openly criminalising non-conventional sexual orientations, the resulting Rainbow Map of the Organisation confirmed a picture of a region that is more and more reluctant to accept diversity.

 

Sources and further readings:

Boni, F. (2024, May 15). Rainbow Map 2024, l’Italia crolla al 36° posto su 49 Pesi per uguaglianza e tutela delle persone LGBT. Gay.it. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from

https://www.gay.it/rainbow-map-2024-italia-paesi-uguaglianza-e-tutela-delle-persone-lgbt.

 

(2024, May 17). Italy among 9 EU States not signing EU LGBT rights text. Ansa. Retrieved on May 20, 2024, from

https://www.ansa.it/english/news/world/2024/05/17/italy-among-9-eu-states-not-signing-eu-lgbt-rights-text_9d93892f-e94f-42a4-b341-9c5cdf756a20.html.

 

(2024, May 17). Italy didn’t sign EU gay text because mirror Zan bill. Ansa. Retrieved on May 20, 2024, from

https://www.ansa.it/english/news/politics/2024/05/17/italy-didnt-sign-eu-gay-text-because-mirrors-zan-bill_8d391789-1919-4d62-bb9c-0bb39e2b76f3.html.

 

(2024, May 17). Declaration on the continued advancement of the human rights of LGBTIQ persons in Europe. European Union. Retrieved on May 20, 2024, from

https://belgian-presidency.consilium.europa.eu/media/kvibjar1/declaration-final.pdf.