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Poland set to bail out ‘LGBT-free’ towns denied EU funding due to their abhorrently homophobic policies

Lily Wakefield August 18, 2020
Poland lgbt-free zone

Poland's minister of justice Zbigniew Ziobro has promised to give government money to "LGBT-free zones" which have lost EU funding. (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

A town in Poland which lost EU funding after designating itself an “LGBT-free zone” will receive financial aid from the government, the country’s justice minister has announced.

As of February 2020, a third of Poland had declared itself to be an official “LGBT-free zone” with local municipalities signing a pledge adopting resolutions against “LGBT propaganda”.

But some towns which declared themselves to be “LGBT-free” are now facing financial consequences for their homophobic policies, after six municipalities were rejected by the EU when applying to its town twinning programme. 

Those included in the twinning network can seek to obtain grants of up to €150,000 through the partnership scheme, to be used on programs working towards equality and integration.

EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli said at the time: “EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by member states and state authorities.”

“This is why six town twinning applications involving Polish authorities that adopted ‘LGBTI free zones’ or ‘family rights’ resolutions were rejected.”

The town of Tuchów was one of those rejected by the EU programme, after the French town it was previously twinned with, Saint-Jean-de-Braye, broke the partnership and declared that the relationship was now “tainted”.

But now, the municipality is being bailed out by the Polish government.

According to TVN24 News, Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro said at a news conference: “We are supporting a municipality that has a pro-family agenda, promotes support for well-functioning families, and fights against the imposed ideology of LGBT and gender, which is being pushed by the European Commission.”

He said that the town will receive 250,000 zlotys (£51,482) from the ministry’s justice fund, and added that he would track down other “LGBT-free zones” that had lost EU funding.

“We tried find out if there are any other municipalities mentioned by Commissioner Dalli. If we find any, we will reach out to them,” Ziobro said.
Poland’s recently re-elected homophobic president Andrzej Duda has continuously attacked the country’s LGBT+ community, and has vowed to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption and LGBT-inclusive education in schools.

This week, more than 70 cultural figures, including Margaret Atwood, Ed Harris, Judith Butler and Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino, condemned the rising anti-LGBT+ sentiment in Poland in a powerful open letter addressed to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

More: eu funding, justice minister, LGBT-free zone, Poland, town twinning, Tuchów, Zbigniew Ziobro

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