Last week, Julie visited Sofia (Bulgaria) to support the LGBTIQ+ Pride taking place on Saturday 9 June. While she was there, the leader of Bulgaria’s Socialist Party made homophobic comments.

Korneliya Ninova turned down the invitation to participate in the parade as she was against same-sex marriage. Although she said this was only her personal position, her déclarations sent a very harmful message on the Socialists’ position.

Julie said:

“The world is changing with more and more countries realising that LGBTIQ+ rights are human rights which must be fully respected. This is particularly important for EU Member States.

I am a proud supporter of LGBTIQ+ communities at a European and global level. In the European Parliament we work across political divides to progress equal rights and non-discrimination for LGBTIQ+ people. My political group, the Party of European Socialists, is particularly vocal on this.

I was therefore very surprised and disappointed to read that the leader of our sister party in Bulgaria declined an invitation to attend this year’s Sofia Pride.

Leaders have a duty to stand up for everyone’s rights – it’s not a pick and mix approach. In the face of increasing homophobia and transphobia poltiicalins should rise above the outdated views and show solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community. This is particularly important for PES members as we are the political family that stands up for social justice, equality and inclusion. Pride is here to stay and the sooner the politicians jump on board the better.”

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