The Stockholm Programme adopted by the European Council states (p. 14): "Since diversity enriches the Union, the EU and its Member States must provide a safe environment where differences are respected and the most vulnerable protected. Measures to tackle discrimination, racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and homophobia must be vigorously pursued".
In Schalk & Kopf v. Austria (Application No. 30141/04) the First Section of the Court has postponed the oral hearing on the admissibility and merits of the application to Thursday, 25 February 2010 at 9:00 am. www.echr.coe.int
A male-female couple with cohabitation agreement in Netherlands with the male partner being an official of an EU institution sought sickness insurance for the female partner. The General Court, in a judgment of 15 October 2009 (Commission v Anton Pieter Roodhuijzen, T 58/08 P), found that she is eligible even though the cohabitation agreement does not give rise to legal consequences similar to those of marriage in the Netherlands. The same reasoning should apply to same-sex cohabitation agreement.
In Schalk & Kopf v. Austria (Application No. 30141/04) the First Section of the Court (which includes the Austrian judge) has scheduled an oral hearing on the admissibility and merits of the application for Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 9:00 am, before a 7-judge Chamber of the Court (which has 47 judges, one per Council of Europe member state). Hearings are now exceptional, because of the Court's heavy caseload, so this indicates the importance of the case.