Ulrike Lunacek (born 26 May 1957 in Krems an der Donau) is an Austrian politician.
She is Vice President of the European Parliament, Member of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament since 2009 and head of delegation of the Austrian Greens in the European Parliament. Lunacek is Kosovo-Rapporteur and co-president of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair.
From 1967 to 1975 Lunacek attended high school in the second district of Vienna. Furthermore, she spent 1 year (1973-1974) as an AFS-student at a high school in Boone (Iowa, USA). In 1975 she started studying interpreting (English and Spanish) at the University of Innsbruck and graduated in 1983. During this time she was involved in the establishment of the women's refuge Innsbruck and did social work. From 1984 to 1986 she was an adviser for the organization "Frauensolidarität" (Solidarity among Women) in Vienna. Afterwards Lunacek was editor of the magazine "Südwind" and press officer of the Austrian Information Service for Development Politics (ÖIE). In addition she worked as a freelance translator and journalist.
In 1994 Lunacek was NGO delegate at the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and a year later she coordinated the press work of all NGOs at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Lunacek's political career began in 1995 with the presentation of the "Appeal to reason", organized by the Austrian Lesbian and Gay Forum in Palais Auersperg, and the first-time candidacy for the Austrian Green Party, whose federal business manager she was from 1996 to 1998.
Member of the Austrian Parliament, 1999–2009
From 1999 to 2009, Lunacek was a member of parliament and the Green group's spokeswoman on foreign and development policy as well as equality for lesbians, gays and transgender persons. Also starting in 1999, she was deputy chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
As the first openly lesbian politician in the Austrian Parliament, she is also a member of the Greens "andersrum". She had her coming-out in 1980. Since 1994 she is living with a native Peruvian.
On 5 May 2006 Lunacek was elected co-chair of the European Green Party in Helsinki, a position she held for 3 years. On 28 October 2008 she became vice-chair of the Green Parliamentary Club in Austria and was nominated frontrunner for the 2009 European Parliament election.
Member of the European Parliament, 2009–present
On 14 July 2009 Lunacek moved into Parliament as head of delegation of the Austrian Greens. Currently she is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and the Delegation to the parliamentary Cooperation Committees EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia (DSCA). In addition she is a substitute member of the "Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)", the "Delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo (DSEE)" and the "Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (DEPA)". Moreover, she is the Parliament's Rapporteur for Kosovo and the foreign affairs spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group.
As co-president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights Lunacek also fights for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. In addition, she is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Western Sahara.
In 2011, European Voice reported that Lunacek, encouraged by aides to Catherine Ashton, had applied to become head of the EEAS’s office in Kosovo, but was then told that, as a non-diplomat, she was not eligible.
Lunacek has led EU-Election Observer Missions on numerous occasions, including for the 2013 Honduran general elections.
In February 2013 Lunacek was elected vice-president of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, under the leadership of Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Following the 2014 European elections, the group voted to her as candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament. She has since been serving as one of the fourteen Vice Presidents of the European Parliament who sit in for the president in presiding over the plenary. In this capacity, she is in charge of the parliament’s Sakharov Prize and representing the parliament in matters concerning the Western Balkans.
In 2013, Lunacek advocated for a non-binding resolution on "Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights". that called for "age-appropriate and gender-sensitive sexuality and relationship education ... for all children and adolescents" and referenced a document co-authored by the WHO in which some sexuality information is deemed appropriate from age 4. After some controversy, the European Parliament instead passed a modified version which declared sexual education a competence of the member states. Lunacek called the opponents of the report “right-wing bigots” stating the groups were against “women’s right to a safe and healthy reproductive and sexual life.”
- Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP), Member of the Board
- Österreichische Sahrauische Gesellschaft (ÖSG), Member
- (German) Homepage of Ulrike Lunacek, http://www.ulrikelunacek.eu/index.php?id=34, retrieved 24 June 2013
- (German) http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/VHG/XXII/NRSITZ/NRSITZ_00112/SEITE_0217.html, retrieved 24 June 2013
- (German) E. Znaymer: Ihre eigene Geschichte. In: Datum. Nr. 2, 1. Februar 2006
- http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/97017/ULRIKE_LUNACEK_history.html, retrieved 24 June 2013
- http://www.lgbt-ep.eu/about/presidents/, retrieved 24 June 2013
- Members European Parliament Intergroup on Western Sahara.
- Planning for Pristina European Voice, May 4, 2011.
- Diplomatic dilemma European Voice, September 14, 2011.
- Dave Keating (June 25, 2014), Greens, ECR and GUE put up candidates for Parliament president European Voice.
- Parliament vice-president portfolios assigned European Voice, November 13, 2014.
- Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
- MEPs say sexual and reproductive health and rights are matter for member states
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