Several national governments and parliaments have lately introduced conservative bills and procedures turning back the time on fundamental rights and freedoms, including abortion and LGBT rights. A blow to women's health and reproductive rights was dealt this week by Conservatives and the far-right in the European Parliament when they voted against the 'Estrela report'.
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
"Europe is the continent of progress; we have made commitments to universal human rights, banned the death penalty and created social welfare states that protect our citizens. Now, in the middle of the crisis, with mass unemployment and social inequalities dramatically on the rise, Conservatives all over Europe are trying to overturn some of the freedoms Europe can be proud of.
"Spain is aiming to reduce access to abortion; Croatia may be forced to constitutionally redefine 'marriage' as a union between a man and a woman and Lithuania is foreseeing changes to limit both abortions and LGBT rights.
"We urge national governments to embrace freedoms and rights for their citizens instead of curtailing them in a show of conservative activism during this crisis period. Instead of attacking more vulnerable people, we must address poverty and unemployment; instead of limiting abortion we must strengthen women's rights and instead of making LGBT people second-rate citizens we should remember that we are a Europe of progress, not a Europe of regression".