The prime minister of Poland has claimed his country is being misrepresented by the press, and hit out at the Western media.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Brussels with EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said: “Please do not believe in the myth of anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophobic Poland this is a media thing – it is not real.”
It seems that the EU were not convinced that the reported spike in homophobic and racist sentiment in Poland is a myth.
Mr Barosso spoke in the most diplomatic fashion, but still managed to convey fears that Poland’s present attitude is in opposition to EU values.
There continues to be deep concern about Mr Kaczynski’s Justice and Law party, and the ultra-nationalist parties who make up the governing coalition.
The League of Polish Families have been agitating for the reintroduction of the death penalty, despite the fact that capital punishment is outlawed in the founding treaties of the European Union.
Mr Barroso raised “concerns that have been expressed in some sectors of public opinion” about gay rights in Poland.
He said he was pleased with the response from the Poles, who claim there is nothing to worry about.
Within minutes of becoming Prime Minister in July, Jaroslaw Kaczynski attacked gay marriage saying, “We won’t let ourselves say that black is white, we are going to protect this (marriage) foundation of social life.”
Mr Kaczynski’s twin brother Lech is President of Poland. When serving as mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczyznski attempted to ban Gay Pride marches in 2004 and 2005.
He refused to meet with the parade organisers, saying, “I am not willing to meet perverts.”
When questioned about the position of LGBT people in Poland, prime minister Kaczynski made a startling claim. The Irish Times reports him as telling reporters:
“What you have in Poland is gay clubs, gay literature, gay press and this is functioning normally.
“There is no limitation on political promotion either. In Poland, there are homosexuals who take very high [ political] positions.”
Human Rights Watch have criticised the prime minister, and said they are: “deeply concerned that government statements and policies against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Poland directly violate international standards.”
Gay MEP Michael Cashman said: “If President Kaczynski truly wants to defend human rights and minority rights of Polish citizens he must clearly and absolutely condemn homophobia and homophobic violence”