EU blocks community funding from 'LGBT Free' Polish towns

A commission spokesperson said towns that made applications for a 'twinning programme' must be free of all discrimination.

A large group of people waving flags

The European Union (EU) has rejected the applications of six ‘LGBT+ free’ Polish towns for community funding on the grounds that their discriminatory political stance does not respect “fundamental rights”.  

On Wednesday, July 29, an EU spokesperson confirmed the six Polish towns which labelled themselves as ‘LGBT free zones’ were rejected from the Town Twinning program. This initiative provides €25,000 as a means of strengthening connections between two or more communities in different nations and offers support for their joint development strategies.

Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, wrote on Twitter, “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.”

Speaking with AFP News Agency, a Commission spokesperson further stated, “The call for proposals for the twinning programme stipulates that it must be accessible to all European citizens without any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.” Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro refuted this rejection as “unfounded and unlawful”, urging authorities to take steps with the EU Commission to reverse it. 

The EU have threatened to cut funding for Poland in the past due to their discriminatory politics. Residents from the conservative town of Konskowola claimed this action was a form of ‘blackmail’.

Although the six towns were denied funding due to their anti-LGBT+ views, the EU gave a total grant value of more than €2.3 million to successful projects.

Previously, the North Cork town of Fermoy threatened to sever ties with Nowa Deba, its twin town in Poland, over the homophobic treatment of LGBT+ people. Fine Gael councillor Noel McCarthy stated, “Unless a positive response is issued by Nowa Deba by the time of our September meeting, we will formally cut our twinning ties.”

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