‘LGBT Free Zone’-regions repealed after EU-pressure

EU Pressure works

After one Polish region already abolished its “LGBT Free Zone” resolution last week, yesterday three more regions in Poland chose to do the same. 

Last week, the first of Poland’s five regions abolished the “LGBT Free Zone” (Świętokrzyskie) . Yesterday, three more regions abolished the resolution (Podkarpacki, Lublin, Małopolskie). Today the last Polish ‘LGBT Free Zone’ region (Łódź) will also discuss and possibly abolish the resolution.

Earlier this month, it was announced that 126 million euros of the REACT-EU fund was put on hold as long as the resolutions were in place for the 5 Polish regions that declared themselves as “LGBT Free Zone”. Last week, Financial Times announced that the EU cohesion funds foreseen for Poland could also be blocked. In that case the cost for Poland could run into the billions.

Since 2019, more than 100 local entities in Poland adopted so-called ‘LGBT Free Zones’ resolutions and ‘charters defending the traditional family’. In addition to the regions, many municipalities still have an ‘LGBT Free Zone’, but this does not appear to be a priority for the European Commission.

Not the end

“Two years of struggle to pressure the Polish government to repeal their anti-LGBTIQ+ resolutions is finally paying off. Now it’s time for Poland to not only repeal anti-LGBTIQ+ policies, but to introduce real equality for their LGBTIQ+ community.” said Rémy Bonny, Executive Director of Forbidden Colours, an NGO that works on LGBTIQ rights in Europe and has been fighting for years for a tougher European approach against countries like Poland and Hungary.

“We hope that also for Hungary the European Commission will continue to put strong pressure. When it comes to Poland, we know that we can only bring about change if we hit them in their wallet. With Hungary, the same funds were already blocked, but there was no response yet,” said Bonny.

“The European Commission must now further increase the pressure towards Poland and the anti-LGBTIQ laws in Hungary. There is no place for discrimination in the European Union. Governments that facilitate discrimination should be hit financially.”

Bonny calls on the European Commission to forward the Hungarian law to the European Court of Justice.