Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Clause in the European Union Treaty

The Anti-discrimination Clause in the New European Treaty (Amsterdam Treaty); The Article (6A) in English; ILGA Europe's Responce the Clause.
Quoted from the ILGA Euroletter #51, July 1997.

The Article (6A) in Greek
Quoted from the European Commision site

The European Parliament Establishes Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Issues
Quoted from the ILGA Euroletter #55, November 1997.

ILGA-EUROPE Participates in European Parliament's Intergroup
Quoted from the ILGA Euroletter #56 Jan. 1998.

EURO-LETTER #51, July 1997.
By Roy Dickinson

At the European Council in Amsterdam, a Treaty was approved by the fifteen leaders of the EU member states which, for the first time gives protection to European citizens against discrimination on grounds of sexual discrimination.
ILGA-Europe had campaigned actively for such a provision in the Treaty (which is the successor the infamous Maastricht Treaty) and, whilst we didn't get everything that ILGA-Europe wanted, this is a huge step forward.
It means that our political leaders have, for the first time, together decided that being lesbian or gay is no reason why people should be discriminated against. It is a huge step forward for all of us in political terms, even if the practical benefits may take time to materialise.
In effect it means that the European Union is on our side!

The relevant treaty article reads as follows: "Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty and within the limits of the powers conferred by it upon the Community, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation."
This is something to celebrate! It means that the EU now has the power to take concrete action to fight homophobia and bigotry.
But it is only a beginning. It doesn't (as the British press claimed today) outlaw discrimination. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean, for example, that all EU countries must now recognise same-sex partnerships. It doesn't automatically get rid of national legislation which is discriminatory.
So, the fight for equality is not over - not by a long way. But now we have a new weapon in that fight. Together with another new article which means that all EU countries must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, we have the means to get the EU on our side in that fight.

The provision in greek (copied here from the
European Commision site): (greek fonts)
    "΄Αρθρο 6Α 

    Με την επιφύλαξη των άλλων διατάξεων της παρούσας Συνθήκης και εντός των ορίων των
    αρμοδιοτήτων που παρέχει αυτή στην Κοινότητα, το Συμβούλιο, αποφασίζοντας ομόφωνα, 
    μετά από πρόταση της Επιτροπής και διαβούλευση με το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο, μπορεί 
    να αναλάβει κατάλληλη δράση για την καταπολέμηση των διακρίσεων λόγω φύλου, φυλετικής 
    ή εθνικής καταγωγής, θρησκείας ή πεποιθήσεων, αναπηρίας, ηλικίας ή γενετήσιου 

On October 22nd 1997, the European Parliament established an intergroup on gay and lesbian issues The following article by
Egalite, was copied here from Euroletter #55, November 1997.
At the European Parliament on 22 October, four political groups from across the political spectrum decided to join forces to develop a structured approach to gay and lesbian issues in EU policy and administration.
The European Parliament, the only democratically elected institution of the European Union, has been consistently supportive of lesbian and gay rights over the past few years. The 1993 "Roth Report" written by German Green Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and EGALITE Prize-winner, Claudia Roth, was the first comprehensive treatment of the question of gay and lesbian rights in Europe. It laid the foundations for an agenda of reforms and legislation which is still being pursued by MEPs with the support of EGALITE and the members of ILGA-Europe. Implementation of Roth's report is going slowly, but concrete steps have been the inclusion of provisions in the Amsterdam Treaty to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and the Parliament's adoption of the "Lindholm Report" earlier this year.
The establishment of a Parliamentary Intergroup on equal rights for lesbians and gays is a further step forward and another sign of the European Parliament's commitment to our cause. An Intergroup provides a forum at which MEPs with a special interest in a particular issue can discuss how to press forward an agenda at the EU level. It also helps MEPs to draw on the advice and experience of interested European citizens.
The inaugural meeting of the Intergroup was chaired by Mrs. Outi Ojala, a Finnish MEP with a record in the Finnish Parliament which includes numerous motions and a draft bill on registration rights for same-sex couples. She is a member of the United European Left/Nordic Green Left group which is one of the moving forces behind this initiative. But the Intergroup has received support across the political spectrum, and includes Socialists, Greens and Christian Democrats.
The new Intergroup will meet monthly in Strasbourg and invite experts, national representatives and officials from other EU institutions to discuss topics such as the status of lesbians and gays in national and EU legislation and policy-making, existing discrimination and possible steps to promote equal treatment. Its prime goal will be to assist the European Parliament in its work on this issues, but it will of course facilitate coordination and exchange of information in a broader European context.
At the next meeting on 19 November, Commissioner Flynn will be invited to discuss how the new Treaty article 6a, which enables the EU to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, can be put into practice. On that occasion, the Intergroup will formally request the Commission to appoint both a Commissioner and a Commission official responsible for gay and lesbian issues. This would put an end to the juggling-around of matters that concern our position in society and would finally offer gay and lesbian representatives the chance to address their input to a clear-cut authority with the required mandate to take action. In December, the agenda will focus on immigration rules and Interpol.
EGALITE will be playing an active role in the Intergroup, and the ILGA-Europe Conference decided in October that the Executive Board should appoint an ILGA-Europe representative to be in permanent liaison with the Intergroup.
To contact the Intergroup: Paola Giaculli - Intergroup Secretary (

EUROLETTER #56 Jan. 1998.
On 22 October 1997, the intergroup on Equal Rights for Gays and Lesbians had its founding meeting in Strasbourg (cf. Euro-Letter # 55). Four political groups have joined so far: GUE/NGL (Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left), V (The Green Group), PSE (Socialist) and PPE (European People's Party/Christian Democratic Group). That the PPE joined, caused a controversy in this group.
PPE leader Wilfried Martens, former Belgian prime-minister, agreed that his group joined without getting the consent of the group. Austrian conservative MEP Karl Habsburg demanded even an explanation publicly.
In the 19 November 1997 meeting of the intergroup, the official name of the intergroup was decided upon. Outi Ojala (GUE/NGL, Finland) was elected president, Claudia Roth (V, Germany), Richard Howitt (PSE, UK) and Peter Pex (PPE, Netherlands) were elected vice-presidents of the intergroup. ILGA-Europe and Egalite were invited to permanently participate in the intergroup. In this session, the intergroup also fixed its aims.
In the 14 December 1997 meeting of the intergroup in Strasbourg, Marion Oprel, president of Egalite, and ILGA-Europe board members Maren Wuch and Kurt Krickler gave presentations on their respective organisation. The history and structure, the main activities and achievements of ILGA were presented. Maren and Kurt also introduced the ILGA-Europe Working Programme towards the EU as adopted at the ILGA-Euro Conference in London last October. ILGA-Europe also made a list of proposals for joint activities and actions within the intergroup. The full text of ILGA-Europe's presentation is printed below and is also available on ILGA-Europe's website (
ILGA-Europe will continue to participate regularly in the intergroup meetings which are scheduled to take place once a month in Strasbourg at least until the summer break. The next meeting will be on 14 January 1998.
ILGA-Europe member groups are cordially invited to cooperate with the intergroup, either directly with the MEPs involved or via ILGA-Europe, and to put forward any suggestions they seem appropriate for the intergroup.

This page was last modified: Mar. 18th, 1998.

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