EC launches procedure against Poland over 'LGBT-free zones'

Mateusz Marek/PAP

The European Commission (EC) has launched an infringement procedure against Poland over resolutions declaring "LGBT-free zones" in a number of Polish municipalities.

The EC has also launched a similar procedure against Hungary over its recent law banning LGBT content in schools.

"Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatised: be it because of whom they love, because of their age, their ethnicity, their political opinions, or their religious beliefs," EC President Ursula von der Leyen was quoted as saying in an EC press release on Thursday.

"The Commission is launching infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland related to the equality and the protection of fundamental rights," the EC said.

"In relation to Poland, the Commission considers that Polish authorities failed to fully and appropriately respond to its inquiry regarding the nature and impact of the so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones' resolutions adopted by several Polish regions and municipalities," the Commission added.

"From 2019, several Polish municipalities and regions adopted resolutions on the creation of so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones'. The Commission is concerned that these declarations may violate EU law regarding non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation," the EC also said.

Poland now has one month to respond, but if the country fails to comply, the EC may take the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Over a hundred Polish local governments have passed such controversial resolutions, which triggered protests from LGBT communities in Poland and abroad as well as causing diplomatic backlash.

In February, the south-eastern Podkarpackie province lost EUR 1.7 million in funding in Norway and EEA Grants after its regional assembly passed a resolution against "LGBT ideology".