Six towns in Poland that adopted ‘LGBT-free’ zones are facing financial consequences for their homophobic policies after the EU rejected their application for funding.
The towns, which all signed pledges opposing acts of tolerance towards the LGBT+ community, had applied to the EU’s town twinning programme.
Those included in the twinning network can seek to obtain grants of up to €150,000 through the partnership scheme, to be used on programs working towards equality and integration.
On Tuesday (July 28) the European Commission announced a list of beneficiaries who will receive the funds — and it won’t be the ‘LGBT-free’ zones.
“EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by member states and state authorities,” said EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli on Twitter.
“This is why six town twinning applications involving Polish authorities that adopted ‘LGBTI free zones’ or ‘family rights’ resolutions were rejected.”
While Dalli didn’t specify which towns had been rejected, it’s likely that they are to be found in the conservative southeast, where the majority of the LGBT-free zones are located.
In total these zones now cover around a third of Poland, although some are beginning to be annulled as the courts find them unconstitutional.
It’s possible that other areas could lose their funding too, as several towns across Europe have ended their twinning arrangements with their Polish counterparts.
The French town of Saint-Jean-de-Braye was the first to break its partnership with Tuchów in Poland, declaring that the relationship was now “tainted”.
“France is committed to combating human rights violations based on sexual orientation,” representatives said in a statement.
“We cannot accept that the ties that unite our two cities by a twinning oath be tainted. We condemn the position taken by our twin city of Tuchów.”
The EU has also threatened to cut pandemic recovery funds to the LGBT-free regions, with the commission pointedly asking anti-LGBT+ governors to confirm in writing exactly how the money would be used for “measures promoting equality and non-discrimination”.
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