On 19 March 2003, the European Parliament voted to adopt a report permitting the accession of Lithuania to the European Union in 2004. According to a 2001 report by the Commission of the European Council, Lithuania has made progress in conforming with the acquis communautaire with the 1998 adoption of the Law on Equal Opportunities. The report noted, however, that several provisions of the EU law still needed to be transposed, such as shifting the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex. The Commission noted that the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, which is charged with investigating complaints, had demonstrated effectiveness in implementing equal treatment for women and men. In its 2002 report, the Commission noted that Lithuania had continued to make considerable progress in transposing EU law. Among other recommendations, the report recommended that Lithuania focus on training and assisting police forces to combat organized crime more effectively, such as trafficking in human beings.
The accession negotiations with Lithuania were successfully concluded on 13 December 2002 and the Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003. In a referendum held on 10-11 May 2003, a majority of Lithuanians expressed their support for membership of the European Union. Following ratification of the Treaty of Accession, Lithuania joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
For more information, please see Monitoring the EU Accession Process: Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in Lithuania, Open Society Institute, 2002. (PDF, 59 pages)
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