EHF meets Lithuanian Ambassador on European and domestic issues
On 27 September 2013, the EHF met with Ambassador Raimundas Karoblis at the Lithuanian Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels to share humanist and secularist views on several European and domestic issues in the framework of the rotating Lithuanian Council Presidency.
As a preliminary remark, the EHF raised the need for rotating Council Presidencies to meet representatives of churches and non-confessional organisations under Article 17 TFEU on the same footing, i.e. at the same level.
EHF then underlined the concerning rise of right-wing populist parties in Europe and the recent breaches of the Rule of Law in Hungary. The EHF supports the creation of a new EU intermediary tool to monitor the respect of the rule of law by EU Member States. This initiative was proposed by MEP Rui Tavares and taken up by the European Parliament in its report on the situation of fundamental rights in Hungary in June 2013.
On this issue, the Ambassador explained that the Lithuanian Council Presidency would be ready to support a mechanism monitoring the respect of the Rule of law stricto sensu. But that it would not support an independant body monitoring – broadly – the respect of Human rights by EU Member States. He justified his position by mentionning the issue of national minorities which constitute “grey areas” in terms of fundamental rights for several EU Member States (e.g. Lithuania, Spain, Slovakia).
The EHF further raised several other European issues, including blasphemy laws in the EU, EU funding for research on the human embryo in Horizon 2020 but also domestic issues such as coming conservative legislative proposals on abortion and LGBT rights in Lithuania.