Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Press release | Double Breach of Subsidiarity Ahead? 2 EU Parliament reports overstep EU competence


Brussels, 2 March 2015

In a week the European Parliament will gather in Strasbourg for its March Plenary Session. On the agenda there are two reports that address issues of concern to all, namely Human Rights and Equality. However, there are also concerns expressed by over 60 000 citizens regarding the contents of these reports as they overstep EU competence and interfere in very sensitive matters related to Human Dignity.


FAFCE already alerted the members of the EU Parliament Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) in January ahead of the vote on the annual European Parliament report on the equality between women and men in the European Union – 2013 presented by Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella from the Socialists and Democrats group. At this point over 40 000 citizens were calling on the European Parliament to not adopt any provision in favour of EU support for abortion, an issue on which there is no EU competence. Despite some very positive points, the adopted text still includes the very same paragraph which tens of thousand of citizens requested to be removed, but with an even stronger emphasis on a "right to abortion" and with an extention to SRHR.

The by now 60 000 signing citizens from across the EU ask the Members of the European Parliament to reaffirm the position already adopted in December 2013 when the European Parliament rejected the so called Estrela Report on "Sexual and reproductive health and rights" (SRHR). In its place the Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution that reaffirmed the principle of subsidiarity and clearly stated that "the formulation and implementation of policies on SRHR and on sexual education in schools is a competence of the Member States".

The message is clear: the EU is not competent to take a position on the issue of abortion, it is a national competence and by no means something to be decided on in Brussels. For this reason any reference to the abortion issue should be removed from the text.

The citizens petition launched by FAFCE has already gathered over 60 000 signatures from citizens who ask the EU Parliament to not support a "right to abortion". This request also applies to the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 and the European Union's policy on the matter presented by the italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri from the Socialist and Democrats group, as this report includes paragraphs that promote a "right to abortion".

The Panzeri report also contains paragraphs that criticise national referendums in several EU Member States, namely Croatia and Slovakia, and national legislation in Lithuania. A criticism that beyond the subject matter breaches both the mandate of the EU and of the Committee for Foreign Affairs responsible of the report...
As regards the latter subject matter the report "encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to further contribute to reflection on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union" albeit the EU is not competent on this sensitive issue.

FAFCE President Antoine Renard notes that the tens of thousands of citizens who signed FAFCE's petition "count on the Members of the European Parliament to respect the principle of subsidiarity and not overstep the competence of the EU and that many others would join this request as regards the criticism of national referendums".

Contact: Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General
+32 4 70 20 39 18
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