The Polish region of Podkarpackie has lost €1.7m in European Heritage funding after declaring itself an LGBTQ+ free zone. According to Stonewall Poland, the decision to withdraw the funding, which would have been used to promote the Carpathian mountains (a popular tourist destination), was made by economic organisation, Norway Grants. Podkarpackie is now one of a handful of LGBTQ+ free regions in Poland which has lost European funding due to its hostility towards queer people, with six towns being denied money for town twinning.
In response to international concern over the rising number of LGBTQ+ free zones in Poland, the European Union has 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.
Poland has shown increased hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community since the re-election of anti-LGBTQ+ president, Andrzej Duda, last year, whose discriminatory policies breach the codes laid out in European Charter of Fundamental Rights. There are now over 100 LGBTQ+ free zones in Poland, which have all signed pledges agreeing to ‘oppose acts of tolerance’ towards the queer community. European commissioner for equality, Helena Dalli, has condemned the rising hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community, saying : “EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by member states and state authorities.”