Serbia's prime minister-designate said Monday that his new government will include an openly gay minister for the first time in the conservative Balkan country.
Aleksandar Vucic said his future Public Administration Minister Ana Brnabic does not hide her sexual orientation. He says he is aware it may draw public attention in a country where gays often face harassment.
"I am only interested in her results in the hard work that lies ahead," Vucic said, while announcing the composition of his new Cabinet. "She has exquisite energy and I am looking forward to working with her."
A gay rights group hailed Vucic's move, describing it as a "historic moment in Serbia and a huge step in building a society of equal chances." The Gay Straight Alliance group added that political inclusion of gay people is important for reducing discrimination and promoting tolerance.
Vucic's center-right government is expected to be voted into office by the end of this week, more than three months after the April 24 snap election.
Serbia has pledged to boost gay rights as it seeks to join the European Union. Gay marches in the past few years were held under police protection because of threats from extremists.
Thank You EU!
While Brexit has dominated the headlines since the UK’s referendum, other states continue to aspire to join the European Union and are presently working toward accession. Jim Fitzgerald writes on the EU’s efforts to promote equality law reform in Moldova, which signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014. He notes that although there has been substantial progress in establishing new legal protections, there still remains much to be done in implementing these new laws in practice.
In the wake of the UK’s historic referendum decision in favour of leaving the EU, a great deal has been written about the economic impact – for both the UK and the EU – of Brexit. This overwhelming focus on Brexit and its fiscal implications is both inevitable and understandable, given the scale of the expected impacts, but ultimately, it can obscure the many other benefits of the EU to its member states and the wider world.
One such area of benefit is that of equality and non-discrimination. The EU has been a significant force for the advancement of equality within the EU’s member states. In the UK, for example, the first statutory prohibitions of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, religion or belief, and age in the UK were introduced in order to comply with the EU Employment Equality Directive. Likewise, the UK has also played a central role in expanding equality law in the EU: as William Hague and others pointed out during the referendum campaign “the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 inspired the European Union to adopt EU-wide measures to tackle workplace discrimination against disabled people”.
Even outside the EU member states, the EU has been arguably the biggest single driver of equality law reform in the world in the last decade. This is true both on the European continent, where the EU has insisted on reforms in its negotiations with countries seeking to associate or accede, and more broadly through its European Union Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which supports projects to promote equality and combat discrimination across the globe.