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EU to finally take legal action against Poland over horrific ‘LGBT-free’ zones

Lily Wakefield June 30, 2021
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LGBT activists in poland

LGBTQ+ activists gather in Warsaw, Poland, on 17 May 2021 for a rally marking International Day Against Homophobia. (NurPhoto via Getty/ Piotr Lapinski)

The EU will finally take legal action against Poland over the country’s “LGBT-free zones”, which began popping up in 2019, according to reports.

Bloomberg Equality reports that “four people familiar with the matter”, who asked to remain anonymous, said the move could be formally announced as soon as next month.

The legal action, known as an infringement procedure, would see the EU give Poland notice to correct the issue. If it fails to do so, the EU could take the case to the European Court of Justice, which may impose a fine.

Some towns and regions in Poland that declared themselves “LGBT-free” have already lost millions in funding from EU grants.

Last year, the southeastern region of Podkarpackie in the Carpathian Mountains was declined a £1.65 million ($2.25 million) funding boost from the EU’s culture and natural heritage project over its anti-LGBT+ measures.

Polish LGBT+ activist Bartosz Staszewski said at the time that the grant, which was intended to enhance the route through the Carpathian mountains, had made the area “the most expensive LGBT-free zone in Poland”.

A number of other regions in Poland lost out on grants after their twin towns in neighbouring countries severed the relationship, while others have seen their pandemic recovery funds threatened due to “the risk of discrimination”.

EU leaders have also been taking aim at Hungary over its anti-LGBT+ laws, specifically new legislation which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors, both in schools and in the media.

The leaders of 17 EU countries signed a letter hitting out at the new law on the first day of this month’s EU summit, declaring that “in the light of threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”, they vowed to “continue fighting against discrimination towards the LGBT+ community”.

Just hours later, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said that Hungary should be expelled from the EU if it refuses to back down on the anti-LGBT+ law.

 

Related topics: EU, Poland

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