The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF) reports that a sizable majority of Members of the European Parliament voted to support sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women as key aspects of the European Union’s next seven-year budget plan for external relations. This position was adopted by 420 to 145 votes on the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, which determines the EU’s funding priorities for its development cooperation between 2021-2027.
The final report, drafted by MEPs Pier Antonio Panzeri, Cristian Dan Preda, Frank Engel and Charles Goerens was adopted in plenary session by the European Parliament. The MEPs want the EU to promote SRHR as part of a rights-based approach to its development assistance. They call for EU support to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and sexuality education, and the promotion of research into new and improved tools for sexual and reproductive healthcare and family planning.
The MEPs are therefore asking for €93.154 billion in current prices to be allocated to the 2021-2027 Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. Speaking after the vote, MEP Heidi Hautala and MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, co-chairs of MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (SRR) highlighted:
“Universal and comprehensive access to SRHR will save lives, help realise human rights, achieve gender equality and contribute to sustainable development. The EU has committed in its European Consensus on Development to proactively promote the realisation of SRHR. This includes the right of every individual to have full control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexual and reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion and violence,” said MEP Heidi Hautala.“The European Parliament has given a strong signal today that we are determined to make the EU live up to its international and European commitments and obligations on sexual and reproductive health and rights. We hope that EU member states will not dilute this position in the upcoming trialogue negotiations. Together, we need to take up global leadership on this issue,” stressed MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld.