International obligations[ edit ] Neither the European Union nor the Council of Europe have suggested any specific age of consent, and there has not been any effort so far to standardize the age across member states.
However, most countries in Europe now have binding legal obligations in regard to the sexual abuse of children under The Lanzarote Convention ,  which came into effect in , obligates the countries that ratify it to criminalize certain acts concerning children under 18, such as the involvement of such children in prostitution and pornography. Other acts that must be criminalized include: Use is made of coercion, force or threats; or Abuse is made of a recognised position of trust, authority or influence over the child, including within the family; or Abuse is made of a particularly vulnerable situation of the child, notably because of a mental or physical disability or a situation of dependence.
No specific age is recommended. As of December , the convention has been ratified by 42 states, while another 5 states have signed but not yet ratified the convention. The penalty is more severe when the subject is below the age of The age of consent in Armenia is Sexual acts with a person under Sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with a person obviously under 16, by a person who reached 18 years of age, in the absence of elements of crime envisaged in Articles , or of this Code, is punished with correctional labor for the term of up to 2 years, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 2 years.
Paragraph 4 of Section defines a close-in-age exception of maximum three years. However, Section b  of the penal code contains an exception to the general age of consent: The offence "initiating sexual contacts with minors under 14 through the use of computer system" is punishable by two years imprisonment Section a Penal Code.
History[ edit ] The Austrian Criminal Code previously specified 18 as the age of consent for male homosexual sex in which the other partner was aged 14—18, while no equivalent provision existed for heterosexual sexual conduct; this was Section of the Criminal Code. In November , an amendment was put before the Austrian Parliament to remove Section ; but the vote ended in a draw, and the amendment failed to pass. In July , a similar amendment was put forward; it was voted down by the conservative majority.
Section came into force when homosexuality between males became legal in The Section was later repealed on 14 August The age of consent in Azerbaijan is Article Sexual intercourse with the person below the age of 16 years, as well as the same offences linked with satisfaction of sexual passion in perverted forms shall be punished by imprisonment up to 3 years.
This provision - Article bis - was added in and repealed in Bosnia and Herzegovina[ edit ] Sexual activity with children younger than 14 is illegal under Article , which prohibits sexual acts with a "child", and a "child" is defined in Article 2 8 as a person under However, Article mentions a "juvenile" who is defined in Article 2 9 as a person under 18, although it is not clear if this article refers only to sexual acts performed in view of a minor under 18 or if it can be used also to punish sexual acts performed with the minor: Whoever, in the presence of a child or juvenile, performs acts aimed at satisfying his own lust or the lust of a third person, or whoever induces a child to submit to such acts in his presence or in the presence of a third person, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term between three months and three years.
Bulgaria[ edit ] The age of consent in Bulgaria is 14, as specified by Articles and 1. However Article 2 has a provision for those who are over 14 and do "not understand the characteristics or the importance of the act. However, there is a close-in-age exemption of three years. History[ edit ] Before the year , the legal age of consent in Croatia was Age of consent was equalised in Cyprus[ edit ] The age of consent for all sexual conduct in Cyprus under the Criminal Code is 17, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
History[ edit ] Until , homosexual acts between men were entirely forbidden under Section In , the Court held that the prohibition of homosexual acts was a violation of Article 8. In January , the Cypriot Government introduced a Bill in the Cypriot Parliament that would have abolished the ban. The European Commission repeated its warning that Cyprus must follow the Court's ruling. In May , again a government measure to repeal the ban failed because of the strength of the opposition.
In April , the Council of Europe set a deadline for compliance of 29 May and on 21 May , the House of Representatives voted 36 to 8 in favour legalising homosexual acts.
However it was set at 18 while heterosexual acts remained at In , under pressure from the EU  the parliament finally ended the disparate provisions and changed the age of consent to 17 for both heterosexual and homosexual acts, under the revised Criminal Code. Czech Republic[ edit ] The age of consent in the Czech Republic is The Austrian Penal Code was not replaced in Czechoslovakia before Both changes were criticized.
Until , homosexual sexual intercourses were generally illegal in Czechoslovakia. Between adult persons, payment receipt or provision and public nuisance were reasons for criminalization. Denmark[ edit ] The age of consent in the Kingdom of Denmark is 15  as specified by Section In determining the penalty, it shall be an aggravating circumstance if the perpetrator has gained intercourse by exploiting his physical or mental superiority. Section , part 1, reads: The laws in the Faroe Islands and Greenland are equivalent although regulated in separate penal codes for these autonomous countries.
History[ edit ] Male homosexual acts were legalised in Denmark lesbianism was never illegal with an age of consent set at 18, after a major reform of the Penal Code in ; At the same time the age of consent for heterosexual acts were raised from 12 to In , the age of consent was equalised at 15 for all acts[ citation needed ]. But sex with a child under the age of 12 gives double punishment, and sex with a minor at 15, 16 and 17 is illegal for a person in charge of this child.
Until , interaction "against nature" [anal intercourse] was punishable with the stakes. However, until the late 18th century the rule was never used, and, when it came into rule, the convicts were always pardoned to 7 years in jail: In , Denmark became the first country to legalise pictorial pornography ,  but this did not include specific laws related to the age of people participating in the production.
Consequently, the legal age of consent 15 equaled the limit for pornography produced within the country, but material produced in other countries where the Danish consent law does not apply was not covered and therefore legal. Inability of person of less than 10 years to comprehend Within the meaning of the offences provided for in this Division, a person is deemed to be incapable to comprehend if he or she is less than 10 years of age. Due to regaining independence from USSR in , the age of consent for male homosexual intercourse was fixed at 16, whereas the age for heterosexual intercourse was The age of consent was equalised in when the law was amended, specifying an age of 14 for sexual intercourse.
Finland[ edit ] The age of consent in Finland is 16, as specified by Section 6 1 Sexual abuse of a child , which reads: History[ edit ] Until , homosexual acts were prohibited.
After decriminalisation, the age of consent was set to 18 for homosexual acts, and 16 for heterosexual acts. The age of consent is therefore France[ edit ] The age of consent in France is 15, as specified by Article of the Penal Code, which reads: Minors refers to under 18s; the text of the article can be subject to interpretation. This continued to be the case under the Napoleonic Code of The age of consent was set at 11 in , at 13 in In , the age of consent for homosexual acts was set at 21, while that for heterosexual acts was still The latter was increased to 15 in In , the age for homosexual acts was lowered to In , it was lowered to 15, in line with that for heterosexual acts.
Otherwise the age of consent is 16, although provisions protecting minors against abuse apply until the age of 18 under Section 1 , it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with a person under 18 "by taking advantage of an exploitative situation" .
As specified by Sections Sexual abuse of children and Sexual abuse of youths of the Penal Code, which read: The ages of 14 and 16 had been relevant since the coming into force of the Criminal Code for the German Empire in In West Germany the latter rule was kept, with minor changes in Unblemishedness was no longer required, and the court could refrain from punishment if the offender was under 21 years of age.
The German Democratic Republic , by contrast, created a new socialist criminal code in Female homosexuality was not prosecuted. In West Germany, male homosexuality was legalized in The age of consent was set to 21 years and in reduced to 18 years.
Offenders could be only men 18 or older, and courts could refrain from punishment if the offender was not yet In East Germany, the criminal code was supplemented in by a provision that allowed the waiving of prosecution if no harm had been done to socialist society by the unlawful act.
In the GDR supreme court ruled homosexuality was a variant of sexual behaviour just as heterosexuality. The need for gender- and sexual-orientation-neutrality and for a new balancing of sexual self-determination and youth protection was also being seen by West German lawmakers. In general, the need for complaint of the former West German law was kept, but in case of special public interest the offence was made prosecutable ex officio as had been the case in East German law.
In , along with the legalization of same-sex civil unions , Article which provided a further prohibition of seducing a male under 17 if the actor is a male adult was repealed , therefore equalising age of consent for homosexual acts. Furthermore, there is a close-in-age exemption of 3 years age difference for indecent acts between persons younger than Hungary[ edit ] The age of consent in Hungary is A close-in-age exemption allows sexual acts from age 12 if the older party is under The new criminal code in force since 1 July reads: After decriminalisation the age of consent for homosexual acts was 20 and remained so until From then until the age of consent for such acts was 18, as specified by Section In the Hungarian Constitutional Court repealed Section and the age of consent for homosexual acts was lowered to 14 in line with heterosexual acts.
Iceland[ edit ] The age of consent in Iceland is 15, as specified by Section of the Icelandic Penal Code, which reads: