Europe day to day
Estrela revisited: Noichl report calls for aggressive sex ed programmes, abortion, and medically-assisted reproductionRead more
On June 9, the European Parliament adopted the Report on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015. Its supporters claim this was the result of a “very progressive majority in this Parliament”. But a closer analysis of the vote reveals a different picture: There is neither a consensus nor a majority on the controversial claims of the Noichl report.
Despite the fact that the claims in the Noichl report can be described as nothing less than radical, it is interesting to see that the voting behaviour of the EPP essentially led to its adoption. This, therefore, raises the question if this political group really represents the “centre of society” as they claim to do?
Anything but consensus
A closer look at the voting results reveals that there is anything but a consensus on the controversial claims made in the so-called Noichl report. In fact, less than half (45.5%) of all 750 MEPs voted for the adoption of the report.Read more
The European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics (EPPSP), whose Advisory Board is composed of 11 different European NGOs, met November 12 to set their objectives for the next five years of the new legislature. Calling for a “right to secularism” was defined as one of its top priorities.
In the ideal world of the European secularists – who think liberal democracy is constantly under threat from religion – citizens who are believers would not have the same right as other citizens to engage in public debate. They would be silenced. And European secularists would consider this democratic progress, freedom or even political neutrality. They argue that the political sphere must be ‘protected’ from all religious belief which continues to influence democracy and human rights. Furthermore, according to those who militantly advocate for a Europe free from religion, it is the Vatican – with its “huge powers” – that is the main threat to modern secular society.
Yesterday, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) together with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU (all 28 Member States) held a conference in Brussels on ‘Tackling sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination’. With more than 200 representatives from the 28 Member States and civil society organizations in attendance, the high-level conference pushed for stronger sanctions -- including criminal ones -- against such ‘discrimination’.
But the conference’s agenda was based entirely on the unreliable results of the FRA’s survey on discrimination against LGBTI, which has been much criticized during the past year -- in the media and by many Brussels-based NGOs – because of serious flaws in its design. At yesterday’s conference, despite more questions from the floor about its methodology -- and the rather ideological and unscientific nature of the entire survey – these remained unanswered.