Poland: Council has to “finally act” to protect minorities and the rule of law

17 Sep 2020 03:51 PM

Disrespect for judicial independence and the rights of LGBTI persons point to “overwhelming evidence” of breaches of EU values, Parliament says.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday with 513 votes to 148 and 33 abstentions, the European Parliament expresses concerns regarding the legislative and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary, and fundamental rights in Poland.

Discrimination against LGBTI

During Monday’s debate, MEPs seized the opportunity to discuss the case of certain local authorities declaring their territories “LGBTI-free zones”, and ask the Commission whether this may constitute unlawful discrimination in employment, referring to the Rete Lenford case.

In the adopted resolution, the EP strongly deplores both the “Polish Stonewall” mass arrest and subsequent treatment of 48 LGBTI activists on 7 August 2020, and the Polish Episcopate’s official position in favour of “conversion therapy”.

Stop democracy from backsliding

MEPs are deeply concerned that the situation has seriously deteriorated since the Article 7 procedure was initiated by the Commission in 2017. They call “on the Council and the Commission to refrain from narrowly interpreting the principle of the rule of law, and to use the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU to its full potential [...] for all the principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU”. Noting that the last hearing “was held as long ago as December 2018”, they urge the Council “to finally act [...] in the light of overwhelming evidence thereof.”

Click here for the full press release