Renew Europe CoR, Cities & Regions commit to making the EU an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone

Renew Europe, the Party of European Socialists, European Alliance and the Greens Groups in the European Committee of the Regions warmly welcome the European Parliament Resolution on the declaration of the EU as an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone and commit to step up the European Committee of the Regions’ work to protect LGBTIQ rights and freedoms across cities and regions.

In a joint statement, the presidents of the political groups “request the European Commission and the Council to use all tools at their disposal to ensure the effective protection and non-discrimination of LGBTIQ people and their families”.

The Renew Europe CoR President, François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer and member of the Regional Council of Hauts-de-France, argued:

The defense of LGBTIQ citizens to be themselves with full rights is a top priority for our group. For over a year we have been working on a series of initiatives, including letters signed by many members of our network sent to 30 Polish municipalities to work with them promoting diversity as a source of strength for any local or regional community, we have worked with the French Secretary of State for EU Affairs ahead of his recent visit to Poland, and our member, the CoR rapporteur on this strategy, Kate Feeney has contributed significantly to the resolution in the European Parliament. More than ever, we embrace equality and diversity and we stand together in our support of freedom for LGBTIQ citizens across Europe

The Party of European Socialists President and Mayor of Coulaines, France, Christophe Rouillon, said: “There is no place in Europe for homophobia or hate speech. It does not matter who you love, who you form a family with, or in which city or region you live, the European Union must be a safe place for everyone. Declaring the EU a LGBTIQ Freedom Zone is a strong signal to all LGBTIQ people that we will not remain silent in front of intolerance and violence. All cities and regions must act to protect their rights”.

The European Alliance President, Dr Kieran McCarthy, Member of the Cork City Council, Ireland, added: “Equality and diversity are at the very heart of the European project. There are many benefits from LGBTIQ inclusion in our cities and regions. Strong and vibrant LGBTIQ communities have added immensely and have not lessened life and living in the EU’s cities and regions. My own City Council in Cork, for example, supports and actively advances an annual LGBTIQ week-long event, which has much added value from the involvement of public service agencies and city communities. There is much to gain from solidarity and learning from each other”.

The Greens Co-President, Satu Haapanen, City councillor of Oulu, Finland, said: “We stand with LGBTIQ people who all have the right to a life without hatred and intimidation. Any discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation and sex characteristics is unacceptable. The European Union is a place of equality, diversity and freedom, where all people can live and love freely. The entire European Union with all its cities and regions, must become an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone”.

The political groups support the social media action launched by the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament to accompany the declaration of the EU as a “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone” with posting pictures of rainbow flags and signs from across Europe with the hashtag #LGBTIQFreedomZone.

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