Under Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union, it says “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality…”. Yet this has not been upheld at all.
A trend is forming
Hungary back in July 2021, passed a law banning “gay propaganda” to minors under 18 and requiring all books containing LGBT themes to be marked as such. The country also made it illegal for transgender individuals to correct their legal gender in 2020. Bulgaria did the same in 2017, and many similar anti-LGBTQ laws are being passed every year in several EU countries. And what is the Union doing to stop it? Absolutely nothing.
Why is this bad?
The EU supposedly stands for human rights and freedom. Yet taxpayers around the EU fund programs that benefit governments, that are actively passing laws that are against human rights and freedom. These laws are discriminatory at best, and extremely harmful to minorities at worst. They limit people’s freedom for something that they have no control over and actively oppresses them. The EU just allows human rights violations left, right and centre. These breaches are even against its own treaty, and are therefore illegal, as long as the EU is concerned.
Allowing these laws to be passed, sets a precedent that the EU does not want to fight for what it believes in. This issue goes beyond just the rights of LGBT individuals, but who knows which laws are next. The EU has basically said that it does not want to fight against laws that are illegal under the Treaty of the European Union. If anti-humanist laws are allowed, then where does the line on violations stand?
The EU criticises nations everywhere on their lack of human rights but allows laws that actively suppress them, within its own borders.
What is currently being done to stop this?
The EU commission has launched lawsuits against these breaches of human rights, but every time the EU has backed down. These discriminatory laws stay in place even as presidents challenge the countries that pass them to leave the EU. Days long summits get held and lawsuits get filed, yet nothing ever happens, to these clear breaches of human rights, freedom of speech and the Treaty of the European Union. No fine, no slap on the wrist. These governments are always allowed to leave the courtroom scot-free.
The only time I can recall, where proper action has been taken against such discriminatory laws, was when the European Court of Human Rights ruled, in A.P., Garçon and Nicot v. France, that it is discriminatory and a human rights violation to force transgender people to undergo surgery to change their legal gender. But the country still has many transphobic laws, and still see trans individuals as mentally ill, since you still require a “diagnosis of transgenderism”, if you wish to change your legal name on documents.
The EU is also guilty
By not taking proper action against these laws, the EU is accepting clear breaches of its own treaty. The EU is accepting the oppression of minorities, with no repercussions for the oppressors. But why is the EU allowing this? I can only guess why, but maybe the EU is perceiving the lives of queer individuals as not a hill worth dying on. The reasoning behind this does not matter. What matters is that the EU does not stand for its own values and hesitates at taking action against governments that breach what it believes in. The EU is afraid of taking action against breaches of freedom and equality, even in its very own borders.
What should be done
I am not a lawmaker, and I am very unqualified to talk about which actions should be taken, but I will try anyway. As previously stated the EU cannot allow such breaches of human rights, as it puts the Union in a very bad light. The EU needs to take a hardline approach to all illegal laws being passed, and if the government that is passing these laws are unsatisfied they know where the door is. But they would probably never leave the Union. The economic and opportunistic pros of the EU, far outweigh the cons of not allowing oppression. So the legislators will always back down. And if they don’t, then that is better than having taxpayers support these governments that have no respect for human rights or the EU.
We should not forget to mention that if the EU takes serious action against these acts of oppression, then that would show the world that the Union does not tolerate countries that oppose its values and countries that take the Treaty of the European Union as a suggestion instead of law that must be followed.
If the EU can talk the talk on human rights then they should certainly walk the walk. Stop letting governments flaunt the EU’s laws and take action.