Toespraak van minister Van Engelshoven bij EPSCO-raad

Minister Van Engelshoven sprak zich tijdens de EPSCO-raad  van 3 december 2020 uit tegen Europese politici die keer op keer de rechten van mensen om zichzelf te kunnen zijn, ondermijnen. Het past geen enkele Europese democratie om haar inwoners te straffen om wie ze zijn en wat ze voelen, zo liet ze haar Europese collega's weten.

Haar volledige toespraak is hieronder in het Engels beschikbaar.

We are gathered here today to discuss the gender equality strategy that focuses on women and men, boys and girls in all their diversity.

I thank the German Presidency for putting the important and ambitious gender equality strategy on the agenda. I also welcome the interventions from my colleagues regarding the topic of equal distribution of paid work and unpaid care work. 

However, regarding my intervention I feel principally obliged to discuss a different matter. Call it the elephant in the room if you must.

Conservative powers within our Union are undermining core European values.

I am referring to the growing threat to gender equality and the rights of the European LGBTIQ community: Being the conservative powers within our Union who are relentlessly undermining core European values.

Over recent years we have seen developments in member states and on the European level which are of great concern to the Netherlands. I know many of you share those concerns and have had the courage to speak up.

We see member states implementing measure after measure denying fellow Europeans, our sons and daughters, our neighbours and loved ones, their basic equal rights … just because of who they are, who they want to be or who they love.

We have been watching how some member states actively undermine global and European attempts to combat violence against women, for example by leaving the Istanbul Convention and blocking the Union’s accession.

Furthermore, we feel the pain of thousands of European women who are no longer allowed to decide about their own bodies.

I ask you, is this the year 2020, is this the Union that upholds its fundamental values of respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom and equality?

I reach out to those of you who want to protect human dignity, freedom and equality.

I call on all colleagues whose answer to these questions is NO. Who agree with me that the simple fact of who you are is not a so called ‘ideology’. Who believe, with me, that who you love should not be denied or punished. And I reach out to those of you who want to protect human dignity, freedom and equality for all Europeans regardless cultural background, belief and sexual orientation.

I say we must work together and collectively say NO. As of now, we can no longer accept any deletion or watering down of references to gender equality or LGBTIQ in European texts. As we have seen happening time and time again in recent years.

Let's improve gender equality, combat violence against women and further the rights of LGBTIQ Europeans.

Furthermore, we want to join forces with all of you who want to improve gender equality, to combat violence against women and further the rights of LGBTIQ Europeans.

Once again, I thank the German presidency and look forward to talking to those of you who want to cooperate towards a Union that works for all Europeans.