Tuesday

9th Aug 2022

Polish veto blocks EU on rights of gays and Christians

  • Polish president Andrzej Duda: veto came amid laundry list of other EU disputes (Photo: Grzegorz Jakubowski/KPRP)

Poland has vetoed an EU human rights statement on the grounds that it covered gay people but not Christians and Jews.

"We proposed that recognising the need to protect Christians and Jews against religious discrimination be put on an equal footing with protecting the rights of people with a different sexual orientation, migrant children, or women," the Polish justice ministry said on Thursday (11 October).

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

  • Ruling PiS party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski (c) is known for homophobic, racist, and sexist rhetoric (Photo: pis.org.pl)

"Our .. proposal was not accepted by other delegations, so Poland decided to vote against the [EU] conclusions," it said.

The Polish veto, at a meeting of justice ministers in Luxembourg, meant the EU did not adopt conclusions on "the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2017" - a yearly statement.

The Austrian EU presidency instead published its own draft of the text "to take stock of the current debate".

The draft mentioned gay rights, migrant children, and women.

It also denounced "discrimination against ... religious groups", but it did not include the proposed Polish amendment: "especially Christians and Jews".

"LGBTI-equality should not be swept under the rug. The EU must stand for fundamental rights, today as well as any other day," Ferd Grapperhaus, the Dutch justice minister, told media.

Lukasz Piebiak, Poland's deputy justice minister, said Christians and Jews had been killed because of their religion in Europe.

To have left them out would have made the text "nonsense" and Poland could not allow the EU to "lie about the reality of the situation", he said.

The Polish justice ministry also said: "Poland, as a member of the European 'union of values' considers itself a guardian of the rights and freedoms included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights".

The Polish claims of moral high ground came amid EU complaints on the behaviour of its ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, however.

The European Commission has launched a sanctions procedure against Poland over PiS meddling in judicial independence.

It has also cited Poland in the EU court for its boycott of migrant-sharing quotas.

And PiS, which is known for its homophobic, racist, and sexist rhetoric, has paid a price in terms of EU co-operation.

EU price

Ireland and the Netherlands have declined to honour Polish European Arrest Warrants.

Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK have also disregarded a Polish EU visa ban on a PiS critic from Ukraine.

The Polish minister for humanitarian aid, Beata Kempa, said its EU migrant-sharing boycott would stay in place, despite the backlash.

"Our position from 2015 is the same," she told Polish media on Friday morning, amid EU talks on asylum law reform.

"Mass intake of migrants by EU states brings negative consequences ... you can see it in the example of Germany, France, Italy, and Greece," she said.

"Multiculturalism" was "bankrupt", she said.

Poland and Hungary boycotted the outcome of a vote on migrant quotas in the EU Council two years ago.

But they have also pledged to veto the EU commission's sanctions process against each other, posing questions on how to enforce the rules of the EU club on members who violated them.

"We [Poland] and Hungary are forerunners [in the EU] on many issues," Kempa said.

Gay rights

The Polish EU charter veto came one day before the Polish Supreme Court, on Friday, made history in Poland by giving the lesbian parents of a boy, who was born in London, the right to register him as their child in Poland, where same-sex unions are not recognised in law.

"This ruling will open up new legal possibilities for gay parents," Pawel Knut, a lawyer at Campaign Against Homophobia, a Polish NGO, told the Reuters news agency.

Rulings like that could be a thing of the past if PiS-loyalist Supreme Court judges were to take a more conservative line in future.

Dutch refuse Polish arrest warrant over judicial fears

A court in Amsterdam has questioned the independence of the Polish judiciary - turning down a Polish request for a European arrest warrant over fears that the suspect would not a get a fair trial in Poland.

Opinion

Why isn't Germany helping gay rights in Hungary, Poland?

The European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance demands Germany give up its resistance to the Anti-Discrimination Directive and suggest the commission and centre-right parties exert further pressure on Polish and Hungarian authorities to improve conditions for the LGBT+ community and people.

News in Brief

  1. Rhine river on the brink of closure for shipping
  2. Moldova sees 'prelude to war' with Russia-backed forces
  3. Taliban preventing Afghan evacuations to Germany
  4. Amnesty regrets 'distress' caused by Ukraine report
  5. Energy companies warn UK gas exports to EU are contaminated
  6. EU set for clash over rules on political adverts
  7. Three grain ships due to leave Ukraine on Friday
  8. EU on track to reach gas-storage November target

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Italy poised to elect far-right rulers
  2. UN chief demands access to nuclear plant after new attack
  3. Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal
  4. How Ukraine made the case anew for an EU army
  5. 'We must take back institutions', Orban tells US conservatives
  6. Putin must lose Ukraine war, Nato chief says
  7. Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter
  8. Droughts prompt calls to cut water use amid harvest fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us