EU directive stalls at Seimas after refused partnership

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Petras Gražulis

Partners were deleted from the definition of family members at the Lithuanian parliament following this week's discussions to shift the European Union's (EU) directive to ban discrimination on grounds of citizenship.

The provision proposed by MP Petras Gražulis of the Order and Justice party was supported by 44 Lithuanian parliamentarians, while 20 were against and 21 abstained, therefore, the bill was changed considerably and was sent back to the Human Rights Committee. The panel's recommendation was to reject the Gražulis' proposal.

Liberal MP Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen warned that postponement of the issue to the fall session could lead to a violations procedure against Lithuania, however, the opponents objected the definition of the EU citizen, which also includes partners as family members.

"We see the general tendency when there are attempts to consolidate certain concepts in secondary laws, although we had not yet reached consensus on these matters," PM Povilas Urbšys of the ruling Farmers and Greens Union said.

Čmilytė-Nielsen argued that the proposed bill on equal opportunities did not put Lithuania under the commitment of registering partnership but only recognize the partnerships registered in other countries that allow such legal regulation, however, conservative MP Rimantas Jonas Dagys dismissed this as fraud.

The amendments to the law, which would ban discrimination on the grounds of citizenship, have been proposed to the Seimas by the government. The amendments would move the directive on non-discrimination of EU citizens exercising the right of free movement of employees and their family members on the grounds of citizenship.

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