European Union warns countries they may lose funding over their anti-LGBTQ+ stance

Countries such as Poland and Hungary must comply with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights or future funding may be withheld.

A wooden jigsaw in the shape of the European Union
Image: Anthony Beck

Following a deal made in December in regards to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Union may withhold funding from countries and projects which discriminate against people based on gender, race or sexuality.

In an interview with Euractiv, a European Union official shared, “When you’re supporting EU-funded projects in member states, there is an obligation, both by the EU and also by the member states, to ensure that these projects are complying with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

The official continued, “In the context we’re in right now in Europe, we are debating these values and the backtracking in a much more vibrant way – so it’s important to stress that.”

As the official described, there had already been “concrete examples in which we were doubtful of the support for certain institutions, or even so-called civil society institutions in certain member states where there was an issue of potential abuse.”

While all countries are already expected to respect the Carter, there was not previously such a heavy suggestion that human rights abuses could result in funding being withheld.

The announcement comes following a December which saw the passing of a bill in Hungary which banned same-sex couples from adoption, had a huge impact on gender recognition, and prevented schools from holding LGBTQ+ workshops in a bid to uphold conservative Christian teachings.

At the time, Director of Amnesty Hungary, David Vig, stated, “This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights. These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws – rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic – are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities.”

In September, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, strongly condemned Poland’s ‘LGBTQI-free zones’ while delivering her first State of the Union address. von der Leyen stated, “So I want to be crystal clear – LGBTQI-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our Union.” The European Commission President continued, “Because being yourself is not your ideology. It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away.”

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