Saturday

21st May 2022

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

  • The EESC is composed of civil society groups, including the one dealing with diversity issues (Photo: EU)

Some two dozen MEPs are raising concerns over Polish anti-LGBTi influence within the EU's smallest institution.

The alert concerns the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a Brussels-based institution that describes itself as a conduit for civil society.

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

The MEPs are part of a cross-party coalition that seeks to defend LGBTi people, co-chaired by Luxembourg's centre-left Marc Angel and Germany's Green Terry Reintke.

They are upset that Poland has sent an individual with a dubious CV on LGBTI-rights to the EESC, who was then assigned to a group dealing on diversity.

The EESC diversity group handles issues like gender equality and gay rights.

But the Polish member, Tymoteusz Adam Zych, appears to have a history that goes against such issues, say the MEPs.

In a letter addressed to the EESC leadership, they question Zych's role in the diversity group.

"The recent appointment of Mr Zych undoubtedly raises questions over the legitimacy of his work in the field and the intentions behind his appointment," they say.

Zych is the vice-president of Board of Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture.

The institute is known for promoting anti-LGBTI, anti-women's rights, anti-choice and anti-gender rhetoric in Poland.

The MEPs say Ordo Iuris is "a driving force behind campaigns aiming to undermine human rights and gender equality in Poland."

It is also close to the governing coalition in Warsaw, sparking fears that Zych may be taking cues from the country's conservative leadership.

But Zych, in an emailed response to EUobserver, disputed the points put forward in the letter by the MEPs.

"The letter does not refer to my own actions, neither within the EESC, nor outside of it. The authors try to stigmatize me due to my activities in Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture, a human rights think tank," he said.

He also said EESC members are independent and that its diversity group represents NGOs active in various fields, coming from various backgrounds.

"An attempt to exercise political pressure towards the committee leadership questions this basic idea: that members can have different views," he added.

Poland has been embroiled with the European Commission, as well as rights defenders, for its wider efforts to delegitimise the gay community.

It made international headlines after towns through the country declared themselves so-called 'LGBTi-free zones'.

Earlier this year, the conservative Law and Justice government also announced the enforcement of a near total abortion ban.

The call sparked widespread protests.

This article was updated on 22 February, 2021 at 10:54 with comments from Zych

Investigation

EU institution beset by harassment claims

Insiders at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the EU's smallest institution, have described a culture-of-fear environment in the workplace, in the wake of the probationary appointment of its newest secretary-general.

Investigation

The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

Hungary turned into 'hybrid regime', MEPs say

The new draft European Parliament report is an update to the 2018 report which triggered the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, a sanctions probe aiming to rein in member states that break EU rules and values.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us