3 more Polish provinces revoke anti-LGBT declarations after EU threat to pull funding

Three more Polish regions have rescinded their self-declared anti-LGBT statuses over fears of losing funds from the European Union after Swietokrzyskie became the first province to revoke its status last week.

On Monday, councillors in the southeastern regions of Podkarpackie and Lubelskie, as well as the southerly Małopolska, announced they had repealed their LGBT-free statements.

In a statement on the decision to ditch the opposition to “LGBT” ideology, Małopolska Councillor Witold Kozłowski said no officials “were ready to take responsibility” for leaving the region without the EU funds.

He explained that the initial declaration had been made to voice the “importance and value of the family” in the strongly Catholic region. 

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People demonstrate and march with Gay Pride flags during the Warsaw Gay Pride parade in central Warsaw on June 19, 2021. © AFP / Wojtek Radwanski
First region in Poland abandons anti-LGBT resolution over threats of losing EU funds

The latest revocations come after Swietokrzyskie became the first region to bin its 2019 ruling last week. It had been implemented to demonstrate the province’s “opposition to the attempts to introduce LGBT ideology to local government communities and the promotion of this ideology in public life.” 

Earlier this month, Brussels gave the regional authorities of five Polish provinces an ultimatum: either ditch the anti-LGBT statuses or lose EU funding. 

Unlike the other regions, Małopolska’s move marks a complete U-turn from its previous actions. In August, its regional council voted to keep its anti-LGBT status despite some €2.5 billion [$3 billion] in EU funding being at stake. 

Warsaw and Budapest’s treatment of their LGBT populations has been a point of contention between Brussels and the two central European countries.

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(L) Demonstrators protest against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the latest anti-LGBTQ law in Budapest, Hungary, June 14, 2021. © REUTERS/Marton Monus; (R) Counter protesters march as Polish nationalists gather in Gdansk, Poland. © Agencja Gazeta/Bartosz Banka via REUTERS
EU launches legal action against Hungary and Poland for violating rights of LGBTQ+ citizens

In July, the European Commission announced it was starting legal action against the two member states for violating the human rights of its LGBT citizens. 

Poland’s legal infringements concerned the declarations of around 100 “LGBT free” zones across the country. Brussels considers this to be incompatible with the bloc’s ethos of non-discrimination.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament declared the whole bloc an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone” partially in response to Poland’s declarations, but also to the deteriorating situation in Hungary. 

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