Intergroup asks President von der Leyen to take a strong position regarding anti-LGBTI narrative in Poland

Brussels, 10 August 2020

Dear President von der Leyen

As Members of the European Parliament, we are very concerned about detentions of LGBTI+ rights supporters in Warsaw.

On Friday 7 August, the local police arrested 48 people protesting against the detention of a transgender activist. The activist, Malgorzata Szutowicz, was put in pre-trial detention for two months for acts of ‘civil disobedience’ including hanging rainbow flags off statues in Warsaw and damaging a van driving around anti-LGBTI messages.

Such a long detention seems disproportional and unjustified. Moreover, Ms Szutowicz was deprived of contact with her lawyer. According to the Minister for Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, measures used by the police were appropriate and accurate. He also accused the opposition of supporting “banditry” instead of upholding the law. 

Unfortunately, this example of hatred against the LGBTI+ community is not an isolated one. The government led by the Law and Justice has been contributing to the rise of homophobia in Poland by tolerating and even praising such acts, whilst President Andrzej Duda described LGBTI+ people as an ‘invasive ideology’.

You have recently stated that “Our treaties ensure that every person in Europe is free to be who they are, live where they like, love who they want and aim as high as they want”.  We therefore trust that you will ensure that this is also true for the Polish citizens. 

We welcome the EC’s decision to refuse the grants for cities that declared themselves ‘LGBTI-free zones.’ We consider tying of the European funds to the rule of law an important and decisive step. However, more needs to be done to cease discrimination of the LGBTI+ people in Poland.

Thus, we urge the Commission to take a strong position to prevent spreading of anti-LGBTI+ narrative by the representatives of the Polish government. The negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework ahead of us could be used as a step forward. Therefore, we call on the Commission to guarantee an effective mechanism, not a symbolic one, ensuring the rule of law conditionality. 

Yours sincerely, 

Terry REINTKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance Group and Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup

Robert BIEDROŃ, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup