Brussels: The European Union’s chief executive said on Wednesday there was no place in the bloc for so-called “LGBT-free zones”, a pointed criticism of Poland’s nationalist government pushing to curb the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“LGBTQI-free zones are humanity free zones. And they have no place in our (European) Union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told her annual policy speech to the European Parliament.
“Breaches of the rule of law cannot be tolerated,” she said.
Last month, Poland’s justice minister said a town that had lost EU funding after dubbing itself a zone free of “LGBT ideology” would receive government financial support.
Von der Leyen said the bloc’s executive will soon present “a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights” in the bloc, as well as pushing for mutual recognition of family relations in the EU.
“If you are parent in one country, you are parent in every country,” she said.
Currently, some countries in the bloc recognise same sex marriage and parenthood, but others do not.
That leads to situations in which, for example, two women recognised as mothers of their children in France would not be treated the same way in Poland, meaning they would not have the same rights depending on where in the EU they are.
The Law and Justice (PiS) government in Poland - as well as its Eurosceptic ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have long been at loggerheads with the EU over undercutting democratic standards.
While both post-communist states benefit from generous EU handouts, their rulers have come under pressure for putting courts and judges, media and academics, non-government organisations and rights groups under direct government control.