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European Union rejects funding for six towns in Poland with ‘LGBT Free Zones’

European Union rejects funding for six towns in Poland with ‘LGBT Free Zones’

  • Poland must respect ‘EU values and fundamental rights’.
Protestor holds a sign telling the LGBT+ community to go away.

The European Union has rejected funding applications from six towns in Poland that have ‘LGBT Free Zones’.

The towns had applied for grants under a scheme for EU twin towns.

Those in the twinning network can seek grants of up to €150,000 ($176,000) for equality and integration programs.

However, the European Commission has announced that the ‘LGBT Free Zones’ won’t get grants in this round of funding.

EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dali said on Twitter:

‘EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by member states and state authorities.

‘That is why six town twinning applications involving Polish authorities that adopted “LGBTI Free Zones” or “family rights” resolutions were rejected. #LGBTI #UnionOfEquality.’

The EU and LGBT+ battle in Poland

Poland contains 16 voivodships – or provinces. And five of those, plus 100 separate municipalities, have declared themselves LGBT Free. Together they make up around a third of the country, equivalent in size to the whole of Hungary.

Dali didn’t state which six towns had lost out. However many other Polish provinces and towns with EU twins have the zones in place.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, campaigners identified that their twins around the world could be instrumental in pushing Polish towns to abandon the anti-LGBT+ policy.

Indeed, the French town of Saint-Jean-de-Braye had already cut its ties with its Polish twin in February.

The EU’s decision comes at a time when the political situation for Polish LGBT+ people is getting worse.

At the start of this month, Poland’s anti-LGBT+ President Andrzej Duda narrowly won a re-election race. In the election race he promised to continue and even deepen his Law and Justice Party’s (PiS) homophobic agenda.

Duda is also a Euro-scepti. And the PiS party’s dominance is likely to prove a challenge for the EU in the coming years.

However, there was some good news a week later when Polish courts ruled that two ‘LGBT Free Zones’ can’t continue. The courts said the decisions to introduce the policies breached Poland’s constitution.