Norway and EEA Grants withdraw project co-financing over LGBT resolution

The south-eastern Podkarpackie province has lost EUR 1.7 million in funding in Norway and EEA Grants after its regional assembly passed a resolution against “LGBT ideology”.

LGBT activist Bart Staszewski first broke the news on social media and on Wednesday, Tomasz Leyko, the Podkarpackie province governor's press officer, confirmed the information.

The decision is also final and cannot be appealed.

The EEA and Norway Grants are non-repayable foreign aid payments funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to new EU members with the aim of reducing inequality within the bloc.

Leyko wrote that in September last year the local authority, which was the leader of the project the funding was for, had been informed that the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism Committee had taken the decision to annul the co-financing, expected to come from the EEA and Norway Grants.

"The reason was non-observance by the leading partner (the Podkarpackie province local authority - PAP) of the principles and procedures as well as the values that govern the EEA Grants and Norway Grants," Leyko wrote. "Of course we do not agree with this."

At the end of May 2019 the province assembly, Leyko added, had adopted a resolution in which it expressed its opposition "to the promotion and affirmation of the ideology of the so-called LGBT movement."

"It was not an anti-LGBT position, and that is a big difference," Leyko argued.

He added the decision had come without a legal analysis of the resolution, and no explanation was given as to how it had breached the rules of the support mechanism.

"Therefore we consider it faulty, superficial and above all, rash," Leyko explained, going on to say the local authority would demand a full explanation.

The Province Administrative Court in Rzeszow, Leyko explained, had ruled on the resolution and had judged it to be "only an expression of the ideological will of the province’s councillors."

He said the resolution had no bearing on the project to be co-financed, as the local authority had informed the committee and its partners.

Alternative sources of funding would be sought for the project, Leyko added.