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Poland could face legal action over its controversial ‘LGBT+ free zones’

The European Commission is studying the possibility of legal action against Poland over its “LGBT-free zones” in some towns, several EU sources have said.

As the “guardian of the treaties” binding the European Union together, the commission could launch an infringement procedure against the country, which is ruled by a right-wing, socially conservative government whose policies have raised rule-of-law questions.

The European Union could launch an infringement procedure against Poland for its "LGBT free-zones".

A policeman from prevention units stands in front of a rainbow-coloured LGBTQ pride flag during an annual Equality March 2020.

Sipa USA Filip Radwanski / SOPA Images/Si

Such a procedure involves several steps that could drag out over years, but could ultimately result in going to the European Court of Justice, which could impose financial penalties.

Around a hundred Polish towns and villages have adopted the “anti-LGBT” resolution, which some describe as a “charter for family rights”.

They cover about a third of Polish territory and are mainly located in the country’s east and southeast, traditionally very Catholic.

Those decisions led the commission in July 2020 to block EU subsidies to the localities under a program linking them to “twin” towns elsewhere in Europe.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, in her first state of the union address in September last year, slammed the zones, saying they have no place in the EU.

LGBTQI+ rights have taken centre stage in EU politics after Hungary, Poland’s ally and ideological bedfellow, adopted a controversial law seen trampling them.

Leaders of EU countries heatedly harangued Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to his face on the issue at an EU summit last week.

Poland is already in Brussels’ bad books for judicial reforms which have several times been ruled to go against EU standards on judges’ independence.

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