by Leander Milbrecht
The EU agency EACEA announced with a bang: Six Polish local authorities that applied for EU funds will not receive any – because they declared themselves “LGBT-free zones”. However, the gay politician Robert Biedrón thinks: “This is no reason to be happy”.
At yesterday’s announcement of an EU agency, the Brussels-based EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency) warned against anti-queer developments in Poland. EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli said on Twitter that there could have been more money for projects involving Polish municipalities. However, this had been refused – because the six municipalities had signed the resolution on “LGBT-free zones”.
The EU agency EACEA had tendered EU funds for town twinning in a competition – local authorities could apply for joint ventures and projects with their foreign partners. Up to 25,000 euros were to be paid out, at the agency’s discretion.
EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by Member States and state authorities.
— Helena Dalli (@helenadalli) July 28, 2020
Robert Biedrón: Politicians’ stupidity harms citizens
Many queer organisations from all over Europe would like to see a reaction from the EU regarding the queer-hostile developments in Poland. Has it really hit the right people?
Robert Biedroń, openly gay, MEP for the Polish left-wing party and ex-presidential candidate, thinks: No. On Facebook he declared:
“There is nothing to be happy about. It’s not good if the stupidity of politicians harms the citizens. Right-wing local politicians rob their cities of opportunities for development”.
Town twinning: for communication, peace and cohesion
In total, the Agency received 285 applications – from 23 countries. 127 projects received EU funding. Only 8 of these were projects applied for by Polish local authorities and organisations. However, some projects applied for by other countries involve other Polish municipalities. The funds were mainly intended to cover travel and accommodation costs of the invited participants.
The EACEA describes the town twinning programme on its website as, among other things
Initiatives to promote mutual understanding, intercultural learning, solidarity, social commitment and volunteering at EU level
Town twinning is an important key to Europe-wide cooperation and international understanding. Recently, organisations and politicians have increased the pressure on cities who maintain town twinning arrangements with “LGBT-free zones”. The German city of Schwerte finally suspended its twinning with the southern Polish town of Nowy Sacz – with the wish for communication and further cooperation as soon as the municipality rejected the resolution.
The mayor of Schwerte, Dimitrios Axourgos, said that he had been urged to take this step by citizens of Nowy Sacz, among others. They had asked him to get in touch with their own mayor – because they themselves did not agree with the anti-queer politics and the development in their town.
- 35181126924_b7503e9248_c (1): By: Arno Mikkor / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of building this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep us going!