Cyprus' MEPs on Tuesday joined a European Parliament vote calling on the EU to draw up a roadmap to protect the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The resolution was passed by 394 votes to 176, with 72 abstentions. All five Cypriot MEPs present - Eleni Theocharous and Andreas Pitsillides of Disy, Takis Hadjigeorghiou and Kyriakos Triantafyllides of Akel and Edek's Sophocles Sophocleous voted in favour.
Diko's Antigoni Papadopoulou did not attend the session, as she is in Cyprus for her party's elections in which she is running for deputy president.
In the 2013 EU LGBT survey, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency found that 47% of LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed and 26% were physically attacked or threatened with violence in the previous five years.
"Homophobia must not be tolerated in Europe any more. So many of us lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people have lived our lives in fear for too long. Fear of holding hands on the street, fear of being called names, fear of being thrown out of our houses, schools or jobs. My report says the EU must act on this, so that we, too, may enjoy the rights guaranteed to all in the EU," said rapporteur, Austrian Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek.
Parliament's resolution strongly regrets that the fundamental rights of LGBTI people are not always fully upheld in the EU. It calls on the European Commission, EU member states and EU agencies to work jointly on a roadmap to protect their fundamental rights, similar to existing EU strategies against discrimination based on sex, disability or ethnicity.
MEPs put forward several themes and objectives that should be addressed in the EU roadmap, in areas such as employment, education, health, goods and services, families and freedom of movement, freedom of expression, hate crime, asylum, foreign relations etc.
The resolution clearly states that this comprehensive policy must respect member states' competences.