On Thursday November 12, the European Union’s executive commission launched its first scheme to protect LGBTQ+ citizens in response to growing discrimination in countries such as Poland and Hungary. According to Reuters, the new campaign, named the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, aims to oppose right-wing regimes of prejudice against queer people after 43% of LGBTQ+ people reported being discriminated against in the last year.
EU commission vice-president Vera Jourova said: “We will defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people against those who now have more and more appetite to attack them from this ideological point of view…This belongs to the authoritarian playbook and it does not have a place in the EU.” Hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community in Europe has increased considerably over the last year. One instance is the re-election of Poland’s anti-queer president Andrzej Duda who referred to LGBTQ+ ‘ideology’ as ‘more destructive than communism’. Since then, over 100 towns in the country have declared themselves ‘LGBTQ+ free’.
Helena Dalli, the European commissioner for equality, told Politico that countries which do not respect LGBTQ+ should face penalties, such as when several ‘LGBTQ+ free’ towns were denied EU funding. She continued: “We have seen ways on how to effectively work in a situation where we have these LGBTIQ-free zones…by holding back the funding for the projects that are coming from the EU. Equality is the value of the EU, if you’re going against the value, then the EU should not fund you.”