Europe day to day
On June 30 MEP Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL) and Francsico Delgado (President of the Spanish association “laicismo.org”) gave a press conference in the European Parliament in which they presented a “European Charter for Secularism and Freedom of Conscience”. Now they seek to find supporters for an open debate on it within the EP. In its radical vision of secularism, the Charter – which appeals to all “the countries that make up Europe” – endangers a culture of dialogue within society. The paper’s argument attacks the free European societies and reveals a resolute approach against the fundamental pillars of democracies: personal freedom and responsibility, fundamental rights and the family.
Beginning with a claim for a “strict separation between the State and religious or personal beliefs”, the authors of the paper state their absolutist position against a mutual dialogue with religions. In particular they criticise the Lisbon Treaty, which calls European institutions to “respect and not prejudice, in virtue of the internal laws of each member state, the internal relations of these with religions or other philosophical entities and non-confessional groups”.
In a meeting of the Committee on Women´s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee) held June 16, a study of the EU budget for gender equality was presented. The Committee confirmed what had already been stressed in a report on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015 (2014/2151)(INI)) (Noichl Report) – namely, that ‘gender budgeting’ at all levels of the EU is one of the top goals of the European Union. As the study follows the dictum of a principle of gender equality that is based on the unscientific theory of gender the EU budgeting will indirectly help to mainstream a “right to abortion”.
The study “The EU Budget for Gender Equality” was presented by its two authors, Prof. Fiona Beveridge and Dr. Firat Cengiz, both experts from the University of Liverpool. Commissioned by the FEMM Committee, the study makes the argument that the EU budget doesn’t reflect “the EU´s high level commitment to gender equality and gender mainstreaming”, defined by the Council of Europe (page 12) as “the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages”. According to the study, gender mainstreaming should “be embedded as an implementation method in all aspects of the EU´s resource system, including all titles of the EU budget“.
On June 9, the European Parliament adopted the Report on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015. Its supporters claim this was the result of a “very progressive majority in this Parliament”. But a closer analysis of the vote reveals a different picture: There is neither a consensus nor a majority on the controversial claims of the Noichl report.
Despite the fact that the claims in the Noichl report can be described as nothing less than radical, it is interesting to see that the voting behaviour of the EPP essentially led to its adoption. This, therefore, raises the question if this political group really represents the “centre of society” as they claim to do?
Anything but consensus
A closer look at the voting results reveals that there is anything but a consensus on the controversial claims made in the so-called Noichl report. In fact, less than half (45.5%) of all 750 MEPs voted for the adoption of the report.
The European Parliament today [9 June 2015] adopted the FEMM Report on the Strategy for equality between women and men post-2015, presented by its rapporteur Maria Noichl (S&D), and rejected the alternative report offered by the EPP. The EPP’s resolution asked for "actions in favour of modernising and improving the protection of pregnant women and mothers at work, helping women to return to the labour market after giving birth, and reconciling work and family life" (§2.iv) while maintaining respect for the principle of subsidiarity (TEU Art.5,3).
With their decision, the MEPs gave a political signal that they will seek to weaken the EU principle of subsidiarity by increasing the EU’s role in gender matters and issues of equality beyond its competence. By favouring the Noichl Report, the MEPs gave their support to a proposal that includes several measures that go far beyond the competence of the FEMM Committee.
Estrela revisited: Noichl report calls for aggressive sex ed programmes, abortion, and medically-assisted reproductionJune 05, 2015
On the occasion of a plenary session on June 9, the EU Parliament is asked to vote on the so-called ‘Noichl report’ (2014/2152(INI)) on the ‘EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015’. This report – named after its rapporteur, Maria Noichl (Germany, S&D) – calls for a European Parliament Resolution that would push for extreme positions outside EU competence, hidden behind an agenda for “gender equality“.
FEMM Committee calls for radical measures
The Noichl report issues from the Committee on Women´s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), which has called for various radical measures, including gender mainstreaming, a roadmap for LGBT people, medically-assisted reproduction and abortion, sexual education programmes in schools, quota for women in directorates, the adoption of the Equal Treatment Directive, and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by those Member States who have not yet done so. It’s an “all-in-one-package” that pushes a controversial and ideological agenda.