The work of the Intergroup consists in monitoring the work of the European Union; monitoring the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in EU Member States and beyond; and liaising with civil society groups to relay their concerns at the European level.
Monitoring the work of the European Union
We monitor the work of the European Union mostly by examining the legislative work of the European Parliament, and making sure that LGBT issues are included in the various reports, amendments and resolutions the Parliament works on. (See Parliamentary work)
We also regularly remind the European Commission of problematic LGBT issues, and how they should be dealt with.
Monitoring the rights of LGBT people
Beyond examining the work done by European institutions in Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Vienna, we also examine the everyday situation for LGBT people in EU Member States and beyond. We take an active part in promoting the human rights of LGBT people (for example with Portugal’s opening up of marriage to same-sex couples), or reminding Member States and their authorities of their human rights obligations under the Lisbon Treaty, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, or the European Convention on Human Rights (for example with Lithuania’s controversial Law on the Protection of Minors).
The Intergroup also regularly reminds other countries of their duty to protect LGBT people’s rights, such as in EU candidate countries, countries in the European Neighbourhood Policy, or third countries such as African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States.
Liaising with civil society
Finally, we also act as a bridge between civil society groups and European institutions, relaying their concerns at the European level. We regularly meet with non-governmental organisations based in Brussels, and with organisations and human rights activists based in Europe and the world when possible.
The expertise of non-governmental organisations is essential to the work of the Intergroup. We aim to listen to their concerns and their priorities, as they reflect the situation lived by millions in Europe and in the world.
The Intergroup uses specific tools in its work, including:
- Work with members of the Intergroup on reports, resolutions or amendments to include LGBT rights in formal EU texts;
- Formally ask parliamentary questions, which can be written or oral (during a plenary), and addressed to the European Commission, the President of the European Commission, or to the European Council;
- Organise internal or public meetings on specific issues, to raise awareness among MEPs and facilitate exchanges of views between MEPs, experts and civil society;
- Write open or private letters to authorities in EU institutions, in Member States, or in the countries the EU works with (‘third countries’) to manifest MEPs’ position on a certain topic;
- Attend Pride marches and conferences across Europe to raise awareness of the event at the local and national levels, listen to the concerns of local communities, and ensure that authorities provide sound and secure surroundings for the events.
Our work is guided by five priorities, adopted by the Presidents in December 2009 after consulting with our partners. We work on issues connected to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through the following five priorities:
- Freedom of movement for LGBT people
- Monitoring the European Commission
- Combating discrimination in the European Union
- Securing transgender rights
- Monitoring human rights in the work of the European Union
You can find out more about our work for each priority above.