Justice minister blames Black Eyed Peas LGBT gesture on EU pressure

Łukasz Gągulski

Poland's justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, has suggested that the support for the LGBT community expressed by the US hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas at a New Year's Eve concert in Poland could be part of further government concessions towards the EU.

During the concert, organised by the state-run television TVP, the Black Eyed Peas wore rainbow armbands in support of LGBT people in Poland who some claim face discrimination at the hands of the current United Right government.

Ziobro leads Solidary Poland (SP), a small Eurosceptic party within the ruling coalition.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday Ziobro said that his party's MPs will meet the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, next week to discuss a number of issues.

They will include questions about the TVP's New Year’s programme, he said.

They "will likely want to ask the prime minister whether this TVP manifesto of sorts - since it was a planned operation involving the promotion of certain positions and values in public life - is yet another element of concessions to the EU’s demands," Ziobro said.

Poland has been locked out of a multi-billion EU pandemic fund because the European Commission (EC) requires the government to reverse a number of changes to the judiciary that Brussels says violate the bloc's rule of law principles.

Ziobro opposes making any concessions towards the EU, saying that they would threaten Poland's sovereignty, and has downplayed the importance of the EU funding for the Polish economy, terming them as "usurious".

Law and Justice, the senior party in the United Right coalition, has recently adopted a more conciliatory tone in the dispute with the EU and has prepared an amendment to the Supreme Court law to resolve some of the EC's concerns, a move that Ziobro has strongly criticised.

"We'll soon meet the prime minister and it will be an opportunity to discuss KPO and the European Union's blackmail," Ziobro said.

Later on Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that he had invited Ziobro and MPs from Solidary Poland to a meeting on Wednesday so that he could show them the positive effects the multi-billion EU pandemic fund would have on "Poland's economic growth, employment, salaries and investments."