4th Dec 2021


Time for EU pressure on Warsaw homophobes

  • Pride march in Warsaw in 2019 (Photo: Max Bashyrov)

In the recent weeks following the presidential election in Poland we have seen a deteriation of the situation for LGBTI persons and human rights activists in the country.

The narrow election victory for the Law and Justice candidate Andrzej Duda has led to increased problems, instead of a move to unite the country. These actions need to be condemned, since they threatens the civil liberties of the LGBTI community in Poland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

We are therefore calling on the EU and governments and political parties across Europe to react strongly and to use the measures at hand in the EU to ensure that the government of Poland respects the basic human rights of its citizens.

At the same time, we recognise that Poland is a divided country. There is a modern and open-minded Poland that if given the chance could be a vital and pivotal part in the development of Europe and the EU.

A role the country could have started fulfilling already had the candidate from the Civic Platform, the EPP party of Poland and sister party to our parties, Rafał Trzaskowski won the elections.

The Poland that voted for the opposition - almost half the country - wants to live in a place where all citizens can be free. Where being LGBTI doesn't make you part of an "invasive foreign ideology", as Law Justice has declared.

This is yet another reason for the rest of Europe to act and not to stay silent when human rights are threatened in an EU country.

It was a welcome step when the European Commission recently denied economic support for international cooperation to Polish municipalities if they were among those that had declared themselves as LGBTI-free zones.

We need more of that kind of straightforward action from the EU.

It is time to use the possibilities that are at hand for the EU to defend the rule of law and an open society in Poland.

Actions should be taken that will effect subsidies and economic support for Poland and the government's role in the EU.

It is time to show that it isn't possible to erode human rights and our common European values without a price.

Not to take action at this point will only serve to make it harder to act in the future.

If the EU wants to be a strong voice for human rights, rule of law, and European values it is time to show it clearly now by putting pressure on the homophobes in the government buildings of Warsaw.

Author bio

Fredrik Saweståhl and Helge Ytterøy L’Orange are president and vice-president, respectively, of the European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong

Objectively speaking, German politicians have earned a good report card for their management of the corona pandemic so far. Why then is there so much anger about the national coronavirus response?

My 6-point plan for Belarus, by former Lithuanian PM

The suggestions below were put on paper after the inspiring and intensive consultations held in Strasbourg last week with the exiled Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, her team and MEP friends of democratic Belarus in the European Parliament.


The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?

Will the Global Gateway become yet another dead-end? If the Green New Deal, projects to secure supplies of important minerals, the Open Strategic Economy and now this are put together, then the pieces of the puzzle could fall into place.

News in Brief

  1. Covid: Belgium might close schools and cultural activities
  2. EU consumers can sue Facebook, judge advised
  3. French centre-right tilts toward Pécresse
  4. EU urged to blacklist Israeli spyware firm
  5. Austria's ex-chancellor Kurz quits politics
  6. EU agency: Omicron to be over half of infections 'within months'
  7. New German restrictions target the unvaccinated
  8. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems

This 'Black Friday' is a turning point in corporate accountability

Much supply-chain abuse remains hidden from plain sight – not only to consumers but to the companies themselves, who have built increasingly longer, more complicated, and more opaque supply chains, which have become harder to monitor, control and account for.

The South China Sea should be of concern to Europe

If China is allowed unimpeded to break the law of the sea in the South China Sea, think about the repercussions elsewhere. It could ricochet into Europe's High North. In the Arctic, Nordic nations have overlapping claims with Russia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Belgium tightens Covid rules as health system 'is cracking'
  2. EU and US tighten screw on Lukashenko
  3. Belgian impasse leaves asylum seekers on snowy streets
  4. EU 'missed chance' to set fossil-fuel subsidies deadline
  5. EU energy ministers clash amid gas price uncertainty
  6. ECJ told to dismiss Poland and Hungary rule-of-law challenge
  7. Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong
  8. Quick Take: Enrico Letta

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us