In order to improve the representation of family interests on a European level, catholic family organizations from various European countries have joined together in the Federation of Catholic Family Organizations in Europe
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 12:13
Brussels, 4 February 2014
Today, Tuesday 4 February, the European Parliament adopted a report on "The EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”, presented by Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek. A report founded on a study prepared by the LGBT lobby ILGA Europe, at the request of the LIBE Committee and supported by two thirds of the European Parliament.
In an open letter to the MEPs prior to the vote Antoine Renard, President of FAFCE, asked the Members of the European Parliament "Should private sex life be a guideline for EU policies?”
FAFCE’s President suggested that « One’s private sex life should not be a guideline for public policies. The EU must ensure the full enjoyment of all fundamental rights by all citizens. Member States implement fundamental rights and guarantee the balance between the right to equal opportunities and other fundamental rights. Whatever choices one makes in one’s private sex life, fundamental rights are the same for all citizens. There should not be a categorization of fundamental rights according to one’s sexual inclinations."
When the draft report was presented at the European Parliament LIBE Committee in October 2013 FAFCE warned that this issue would trigger strong reactions as the report interferes in areas where the Member States are competent, not the EU, such as family law.
FAFCE recalled that “the EU is currently facing many challenges and its popularity among the European citizens is not at its highest peak. Promoting an agenda based on lifestyle choices that clearly divides the Member States is hardly the best solution to achieve social cohesion within the EU. All citizens of the EU are entitled to live in peace and the dignity of every person must be respected. The rights of all EU citizens must be upheld and protected. However, the tendency to categorise Human Rights cannot be the way forward: every person, every man and every woman, are entitled to Human Rights and equal in dignity. Nevertheless we must not forget that these rights are not conditioned by the individual desire but by the common good.”
Over 200 000 EU citizens wrote to the MEPs to ask them to reject the report. That’s a clear signal: the report divides the EU and hence undermines social peace on our continent.
Open Letter to the MEPs on the Lunacek Report: Should private sex life be a guideline for EU policies? An attack on filiation, subsidiarity and social peace in the EU – the effects of the Lunacek Report
- Category: News
- Published on Saturday, 01 February 2014 15:49
On 1st February FAFCE addressed an open letter to the Members of the European Parliament regarding the Lunacek report on an EU LGBT Roadmap. The full letter is available below.
Brussels, 1st February 2014
On Tuesday 4 February you will vote on the report on an EU LGBT Roadmap (the “Lunacek report”). Before this vote please let me draw your attention to three points I invite you to consider.
One’s private sex life should not be a guideline for public policies. The EU must ensure the full enjoyment of all fundamental rights by all citizens. Member States implement fundamental rights and guarantee the balance between the right to equal opportunities and other fundamental rights. Whatever choices one makes in one’s private sex life, fundamental rights are the same for all citizens. There should not be a categorization of fundamental rights according to one’s sexual inclinations.
This report is clearly out of the scope of the EU competences and breaches the principle of subsidiarity. It would give new powers to the Commission. The report repeatedly makes proposals that stretch far beyond the EU’s competency in matters such as family law, adoption and medically assisted procreation. Moreover, not only does the motion for a resolution interfere in areas that belong to the Member States’ competency but it also goes against the deontology of the European Parliament: All proposals in that resolution are drafted in a way that allows the Commission to act on non-discrimination policy through simple internal measures, bypassing the Council and Parliament although they are the institutions in charge of decisions on anti-discrimination policies.
Approaching fundamental rights by promoting the LGBT agenda and focusing on a category of persons because of their individual sex life does not unite the EU but divides our societies. The issues dealt with in the report need to be addressed at the national level, in the respective cultural and social contexts. During the past days you have probably already received many messages referring to this report. Most of these messages come from citizens across the EU who do not want the EU to interfere in this area.
We all know that the EU is currently facing many challenges. Promoting an agenda based on lifestyle choices that clearly divides the Member States is hardly the best solution to achieve social cohesion within the EU. The European elections are close. If this resolution is adopted, it would trigger populism… and weaken the image of the EU Parliament.
For these reasons I invite you to vote in favour of Amendment 1 that promotes an approach that takes the above into account in a balanced way and advocates for the universality of fundamental rights.
If Amendment 1 is rejected I invite you to vote against amendment 2 and against the whole report as it would breach the principle of subsidiarity and increase social tensions in the EU.
 Para H (iv) “Member States which have adopted legislation on cohabitation, registered partnerships or marriage for same-sex couples should recognise similar provisions adopted by other Member States”.
This is an exclusive Member State Competence. There is no EU competence for this proposal. Member States are free to decide whether or not they introduce such measures. By consequence they are free to determine whether or not they recognise same-sex “marriages” or “civil partnerships” concluded in third countries.
 Citation 5 of the Motion for a resolution, Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, paras 27 & 28: “member states whose national legislation permits single individuals to adopt children should ensure that the law is applied without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.(…) Where national law permits assisted reproductive treatment for single women, member states should seek to ensure access to such treatment without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.”
 Para H (i) of the Motion for a resolution reads “The Commission should produce guidelines to ensure that Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, and Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification, are implemented so as to ensure respect for all forms of families legally recognised under Member States' national laws,”.
However, when issuing guidelines, the Commission is bound by the content of the legislation that is commented on. Guidelines are not law. Each of the two directives contains a definition of “family members”. The Commission and the CJEU are bound by these definitions: the definitions contained in the two directives do not relate to “all forms of families legally recognized under Member States’ national laws”. Hence, this recommendation is in fact an invitation to the Commission to deliberately misinterpret EU legislation. Such a recommendation would clearly violate the European Parliament’s own deontology.
- Category: News
- Published on Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:08
Brussels, 16 January 2014
Following a statement on the behalf of the European Commission on “Non-discrimination in the framework of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)”, a debate took place at the plenary session of the European Parliament this morning. For observers of the European Parliament it surprising to see this item on the plenary agenda as a resolution on the issue of SRHR was adopted only a month ago and set a clear limit, namely that SRHR is solely the competence of the Member States and not an issue to be dealt with at the EU level.
The statement of the European Commission was crystal clear and reaffirmed the position adopted by the European Parliament, underlining that the EU should not interfere in the area of SRHR but that it’s the Member States’ responsibility to address this issue.
The position of the European Commission, just as the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 10 December confirm what the San José articles stipulate: “There exists no right to abortion under international law, either by way of treaty obligation or under customary international law. (…) Assertions by international agencies of non-governmental actors that abortion is a human right are false and should be rejected. There is no international legal obligation to provide access to abortion based on any ground, including, but not limited to health, privacy or sexual autonomy, or non-discrimination.”
The motive behind this debate was made very clear by several groups of the European Parliament: it was intended to put pressure on the Spanish Government that is currently preparing a change of the Spanish abortion law that would introduce a restriction of the access to abortion.
At a press conference on 15 January organised by the GUE/NGL group (Nordic Green Left) several MEPs stated their support for the Spanish opposition in a somewhat contradictory discourse. On the one hand Swedish MEP Mikael Gustafsson, President of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, stated that “All member states are free to decide about their abortion legislation”, thus recognizing the subsidiarity character of the issue of SRHR. On the other hand, the GUE/NGL group has launched a declaration “On the Spanish government's proposal to revoke the current law on sexual and reproductive health and voluntary interruption of pregnancy”, thus interfering with a matter of national competency...
The declaration which has been signed by Members of national Parliaments as well as MEPs offers two clear indications: first that the “Estrela Agenda” is massively supported by the left and liberal political groups and parties; second that the latter don’t hesitate to breach the principle of subsidiarity, which is one of the founding principles of the European Union. Article 5 of the Treaty on the EU stipulates that “Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.”
That there is a clear divide on the issue of abortion stands clear to anyone who takes the time to observe this issue. That abortion is never a trivial issue is also quite clear. It is precisely for these two reasons that subsidiarity is essential.
The EU was founded upon a quest for peace in Europe and although there might be much to say about the EU, the objective of peace in a political and military understanding has so far been achieved between the Member States. However, there is increasing social unrest throughout the EU related to the financial and economic situation and the consequences it entails, such as massive unemployment. Many EU citizens are very frustrated and suffer from this situation. If the EU is to contribute to the social peace and the social cohesion that underpins it, subsidiarity is essential. Delicate ethical matters that are deeply influenced by national culture, history and social life have to be dealt with at the national level – that’s a prerequisite for social peace on our continent, if not they will divide the EU citizens.
The need for subsidiarity is twofold: not only is there a need for subsidiarity in the relations between the EU and its’ member states, there is also a need for subsidiarity at a smaller scale. In any situation where a child is expected there are three persons involved: the future mother, the future father and their future child. Abortion can be considered for several reasons and it is by no means a simple situation, at the end of the day abortion is a technical solution to a human problem but it can never meet the needs of all three parties involved. The reasons that lie behind the decision that leads to an abortion can vary, but there is always a need for human comfort, for guidance, for support, both for the woman and the man – notwithstanding the right of the child to life. In many cases abortion is the result of an unplanned pregnancy which in its’ turn stems from the prevalent attitude that procreation and sexuality are two separate things.
Concrete actions to reach out to young women and men to encourage them to make responsible choices and take responsible decisions are part of the education of every person. This is first of all the mission of every father and mother who are the first and primary educators of their children. It is also the duty of the society as a whole.
Subsidiarity is defined as a principle that “determines when the EU is competent to legislate, and contributes to decisions being taken as closely as possible to the citizen”. In the case of abortion it is foremost at the level of individual citizens that a difference can be made through education, support and compassion. An EU “one size fits all” solution could never meet the needs of the mother, father and child. It is at a much closer level that things can change, this is why subsidiarity is a twofold need in the EU on the issue of abortion.
Subsidiarity is a prerequisite for peace, as are all the actions to help fight the reasons that push a woman into the decision to have an abortion, or as a famous Nobel peace prize winner, Mother Teresa put it:
“I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing - direct murder by the mother herself. (…) today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. (…) Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between. (…) Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted.”
- Category: News
- Published on Thursday, 09 January 2014 21:22
Despite the adoption of a resolution on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights on 10 December 2013 by the European Parliament (EP), there is currently a new attempt to push through what has become known as the “Estrela Agenda”: abortion on demand, restriction of freedom of conscience, compulsory sex education at primary and secondary school etc.
The adopted resolution establishes a clear limit: this issue is solely a national competency, not a matter to be dealt with by the European Union. The adopted text was an alternative resolution to the highly controversial and radical report presented by Portuguese MEP Edite Estrela.
However, what was a victory for the EU citizens who mobilized in favour of subsidiarity, parental rights, human dignity and freedom of conscience was considered as a huge defeat by the pro-abortion lobby such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
Albeit the democratic process the rapporteur Mrs Estrela was extremely aggressive towards her fellow MEPs after the adoption of the alternative resolution. She accused all those who did not support her ideas of being “hypocrites and obscurantists”.
Having regard to Mrs Estrela’s behavior it is hence not so surprising that the European Parliaments’ Socialist and Democrats group (S&D) now tries to push through Mrs Estrelas’ agenda, which is strongly supported by the commercial pro-abortion lobby represented by IPPF, Amnesty international, Marie Stopes International, ILGA Europe, the European Humanist Federation, the Center for Reproductive Rights and over 30 other NGOs.
On 16 January the plenary agenda of the EP includes a Commission statement on “Non-discrimination in the framework of sexual and reproductive health and rights”, i.e. a position on the behalf of the European Commission. Seemingly, the S&D group tries to achieve a new resolution by requesting the use of a procedure foreseen by Rule 110 of the EP Rules. Indeed, Rule 110 "Statements by the Commission, Council and European Council" states that "Members of the Commission, the Council and the European Council may at any time ask the President of Parliament for permission to make a statement." A resolution might be added at a later stage: "When placing a statement with debate on its agenda, Parliament shall decide whether or not to wind up the debate with a resolution."
In other terms, the S&D group does not support the democratic procedure of the EU, nor does it respect the principle of subsidiarity on the matter of “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” although it was clearly confirmed by the plenary on 10 December last.
FAFCE is concerned that the proceedings of the S&D group will trigger deep distrust for the democratic procedure of the EU. It will monitor the evolution of this issue closely and inform NGOs and citizens across the EU about the doings of the European Parliament on this matter.