The European Union has sent letters to five regional councils in Poland, urging them to discard their ‘LGBTQ+ free’ status or risk losing funding. According to Reuters, the letter wrote: “The Commission would like to stress that declaring LGBTQ+ free/unwelcome territories, workplace or services constitutes an action that is against the values set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,” and explained that the regions in question will lose funding if they do not alter their regulations.
It is currently being analysed by Polish officials in order to prepare an answer, with two of the regions – Lubelskie and Malopolska – having recently voted to uphold their anti-LGBTQ+ policies. In response to international concern over the rising number of LGBTQ+ free zones in Poland, the European Union added a new clause to its funding rules earlier this year, meaning the country could face further financial restrictions if it continues to attack the country’s LGBTQ+ community.
The new regulations mean EU countries must show respect for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, so which refuse to adhere to the principles of gender equality and anti-discrimination could see their projects rejected for EU funding. Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, condemned the LGBTQ+ free zones last year, saying they have “no place” in the EU.