February 7, 2018

Press release: MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

MEPs call for better protection of minority rights

  • minority issues not high enough on EU agenda
  • free movement of LGBTI individuals and their families must be ensured
  • discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has increased

Parliament reiterated its support for the rights of ethnic, sexual, religious and other minorities across the EU, in a resolution passed on Wednesday.

MEPs emphasise that minority issues have not been high enough on the EU agenda. They deplore that those belonging to minorities still encounter obstacles in ensuring respect for their fundamental rights, as demonstrated by the number of petitions that the European Parliament continues to receive.

The rights of minorities are enshrined in the treaties of the EU, but, in order to close the gap between treaty and reality, MEPs suggest better monitoring of discrimination, as well as concrete legislative action from the Commission and the Council.

They furthermore encourage member states to ensure that:

  • their legal systems guarantee that minorities are not discriminated against,
  • the right to use minority languages is upheld.

The resolution, drafted by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, also calls on the Commission to take action to ensure that LGBTI individuals and their families can exercise their right to free movement across all member states.


Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), Chair of the Committee on Petitions, said: “The European Union is a Union built on values. Our citizens’ fundamental rights must always be respected, and we should ensure that this includes all of our citizens. We should never accept that people are discriminated against only because they belong to a minority group, as several petitions received regrettably indicate. The Committee on Petitions therefore urgently calls on the Commission and the Member States to better protect the rights of minority communities in the EU. ”


In the latest 2015 Eurobarometer survey, discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin continues to be regarded as the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU, followed by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The latter increased substantially since 2012.

In recent years, Parliament has passed a number of resolutions urging the improvement of fundamental rights for EU citizens in general and minorities in particular.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Aziz, Head of Press of Cecilia Wikström

+32 486 94 76 82

Cecilia Wikström

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