Rainbow Europe 2018 – executive summary

Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool – is comprised of the Rainbow Index & Map and an Annual Review. ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe. Since then the Map’s criteria have increased in scope and the Rainbow Europe package has since expanded to include the country-by-country Annual Review and an interactive Rainbow Europe web module.

The 2018 Rainbow Europe Index, Map and Annual Review all contain valuable information for European policymakers and the LGBTI movement.

The Rainbow Europe Map ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%.


Top 3, Rainbow Europe 2018 Bottom 3, Rainbow Europe 2018
1. Malta – 91% 47. Turkey – 9%
2. Belgium – 79% 48. Armenia – 7%
3. Norway – 78% 49. Azerbaijan – 5%
Macedonia is on the 41st place with 14%

Malta continues to occupy the number one spot on the Rainbow Europe, the third year in a row that the island nation tops the country ranking (now on 91%). The entry into force of Belgium’s updated legal gender recognition procedure increases their position to second place overall (79%), moving just ahead of Norway on 78%. The three countries at the other end of the Rainbow Europe scale are Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, scoring 5%, 7% and 9% respectively. These scores have not changed since the last Rainbow Europe Map was unveiled in May 2017, highlighting the political leadership gap and lack of progress on laws and policies for LGBTI equality.

In order to create country ranking, ILGA-Europe examine the laws and policies in 49 countries using a set of 58 criteria and sub-criteria. These criteria are divided between six thematic topics: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.

The Rainbow Europe 2018 individual criteria and the percentage ‘weight’ assigned to them remain exactly the same as the 2017 version, meaning that it is easier than ever before to compare a country’s momentum (or lack thereof!) on LGBTI equality laws.

As always, policymakers, researchers and journalists can go ‘behind’ the dots and see the original information sources that ILGA-Europe base their Map and Index ranking on. This additional layer of information is available through their updated Rainbow Europe web module at www.rainbow-europe.org