Page last updated at 21:49 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 22:49 UK

MEP accuses former colleagues of "fascistic views"

A British MEP accused some of her former colleagues in the EFD group as "fascistic", during a debate on discrimination against same-sex couples.

Non-attached MEP Nikki Sinclaire said she was glad to have left the group, following comments by Italian MEP Oreste Rossi who said that "traditional" marriage was the only form that should be recognised.

Mr Rossi accused the Commission of "imposing" recognition of same-sex marriages on member states.

The debate was being held in response to a question by a cross-party group of MEPs on mutual recognition of same-sex couples in marriage or civil partnerships.

Concerns were raised that same-sex couples face discrimination when working, studying and travelling in the EU, since the spouse is not legally recognised as a family member by many member states.

Opening the debate, Dutch left-wing MEP Cornelis de Jong used the example of not being able to access rights on pensions if he and his partner were to move to a country such as Poland.

Currently five EU member states recognised same-sex marriages, with 11 - including the UK - recognising civil partnerships.

A further 11 EU member states do not recognise any form of same-sex union.

Dutch liberal MEP Sophia in't Veld, said there should be mutual recognition for marriage just as there was for "jam, wine and beer".

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the EU directive on the freedom of movement did not discriminate between mixed-sex and same-sex couples.

She said the problem was not EU law itself, but its interpretation by certain member states.

Read more here at Democracy Live's guide to the European Parliament plenary sessions.

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