As EU ministers gather in Brussels to discuss how to move forward on the European constitution, two Dutch MEPs have called on the rest of Europe to accept that gay couples can get officially married.
They argue that a same-sex couple, legally married in the Netherlands, has far fewer rights if they move, say to Italy, or worse, Poland.
The timing is appropriate, and perhaps deliberate, considering Poland’s gay-bashing tendancies and its threats to veto the outcome of any discussions on the constitution.
But it is also a sign of how far removed Brussels actually is at times from the realities of living in the EU. Fine talk of single markets and the freedom of movement is all very well, but Dutch immigration officials still try to persuade EU nationals they need a residents’ permit when they don’t.
Driving licences are still far from interchangeable despite being printed in goodness knows how many languages. Pension rights are a mess, tens of thousands of people have lost their right to vote in general elections… the list goes on.
The Netherlands is to be lauded for its efforts to break the deadlock over the constitution and backpedal on Brussel’s meglomanic tendancies. Perhaps it can also put the same effort into making sure all EU citizens are treated equally by every EU state.
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