By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, October 17, 2008 ( – Vladimir Spidla, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, has backed away from suggestions that EU member states will be coerced to recognise same-sex partnerings. In an interview for Destination Equality magazine, Spidla said that it is up to individual member states to decide whether to legally recognise same-sex partnerships.

Speaking of the EU’s new “anti-discrimination” directive, Spidla said, “Within European legislation we have gone as far as we can go. If a state accepts the equality of these relationships then that state cannot discriminate. And there are already some infringement procedures against some states on this matter.

“However, whether the state accepts these unions or not is a basic national competence. And we don’t interfere with that. I think that we found the best possible balance in the proposal of the directive.”

He continued, “These are national competences over things that are very sensitive and which are not the subject of European legislation so we preserve them in that way and I think that at this moment there is the best possible balance.”

When asked whether same-sex partners recognised legally in one country could lose their status when moving to a country that does not, Spidla responded that his “goal and my political aim is equal protection against discrimination on all grounds throughout the whole EU.

“And of course when it comes to transferability of social entitlements I am also trying to ensure that transferability is as universal as possible. That is my approach.”

But Spidla’s assertion that states can opt out of the “gay rights” and “anti-discrimination” policies, flies in the face of much recent history at the European Union’s various rights bodies. His own recent work shows no sign of letting up on pressuring member states to accept same-sex unions as the equivalent of natural marriage.

In February this year, Spidla initiated legal proceedings against Germany and 11 other member states for failing to implement the EU’s directives on “anti-discrimination” issues. Spidla’s “letter of formal notice” to Germany, Latvia and Lithuania complained that Germany’s same-sex civil union registration does not sufficiently match the rights granted couples in natural marriages.

In addition, the commissioner singled out Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Czech Republic in a memo that set out in detail the transgressions of each country on “discrimination” laws and warned that a “reasoned opinion or letter of formal notice” would be sent to each.

Earlier this month, British Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles put forward a declaration that demands that all member states recognise the same-sex “marriages” and civil partnerships of all other member states, as part of the freedom of movement provisions of the EU.

The declaration followed a speech by the policy director of the most prominent of the EU’s homosexualist lobbies. Christine Loudes, of the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) told the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Fundamental Rights in the EU that recognition of civil same-sex partnerings is one of the issues of “freedom of movement and mutual recognition of LGBT families relationships in the EU.” Bowles admitted in August that she had drafted the declaration “with the participation of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Europe.”

In August this year, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union called for binding EU regulations that would equalize the legal status of couples in natural marriages with that of same-sex partners across Europe. The 165-page report said that EU law should force member states, in which there is no registered-partnership or “gay marriage” legislation, to treat people in these arrangements as married couples. It also recommended policies aimed at “promoting visibility of homosexuality and other gender identities” and criminalizing homophobia through “hate crime” legislation.

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