LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Over to you, Commissioner Oettinger…

Commissioner Gunther Oettinger’s first working week as the confirmed Commissioner responsible for the EU’s budget and its human resource issues is starting today. 

In spite of several major concerns over Commissioner Oettinger’s suitability to replace Kristalina Georgieva, the fact is that the portfolio is his. And now it is time to act on the commitments made during and after the hearing with the European Parliament last week. 

The announced communication on diversity and inclusion, as promised by the Commissioner during his exchange of views with MEPs last Monday, needs to be at the top of his agenda. The Commissioner must ensure this is adopted as soon as possible. We do not have any clarity on what this communication will include, more specifically whether sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) will be explicitly mentioned. Given the nature of the controversial statements made in the past by Commissioner Oettinger, the inclusion of SOGI-specific text in any human resource communications would be one way to practically demonstrate the remorse he talked about during his recent hearing.

In a second step, Commissioner Oettinger in a tweet from his own Twitter account promised to table an LGBTI proposal for the European Commission. The content of such a proposal is clearly something ILGA-Europe are keen to help the Commission to shape and we look forward to being in touch about this very soon.

Commissioner Oettinger’s time as the Commissioner charged with responsibility for budget and human resources is still in its infancy – but ILGA-Europe and our civil society allies hope we are not waiting long to see the Commissioner’s stated commitment to equality in action.