Wednesday November 25th, 2020 4:41PM

Poland criticized in EU Parliament over courts, LGBT rights

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's conservative government came under criticism Monday in the European Parliament, where some lawmakers called for it to lose European Union funding over its rule of law record and its stigmatization of LGBT people.

The parliament was discussing a new report on fundamental rights in Poland prepared by Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, a Spanish lawmaker who heads the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Aguilar told lawmakers that Poland appears to be moving away from European fundamental values and called the situation “extremely concerning." The report will face a vote on Thursday.

Poland has repeatedly been scrutinized in the EU parliament since the conservative nationalist Law and Justice took power in 2015. Of greatest concern has been legislation that has given the ruling party vast new powers over Poland's court system.

In recent months, LGBT rights have been a new focus as Polish politicians have been depicting the movement for greater rights for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people as a dangerous “ideology” threatening the largely Catholic nation's traditional identity.

President Andrzej Duda won re-election in July after a campaign in which he called the LGBT movement an “ideology” more dangerous than communism.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, called it “a threat to the very foundations of our civilization."

Many Polish municipalities have also declared themselves to be “LGBT free," a largely symbolic move but one that has left LGBT people feeling unwanted. LGBT rights groups say they have also recorded a rising number of hate crimes against sexual minorities.

“We see Poland crossing red line after red line,” said Sophia in ’t Veld, a Dutch parliament member. She called on EU leaders to take much firmer steps to punish the governments of both Poland and Hungary, which under Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also been accused by the EU of eroding democratic norms.

“I don’t want to hear the word dialogue anymore. We’ve been in dialogue with Mr. Orban for 10 years. And look at where we are now. It is impunity. Dialogue equals impunity,” she said.

Vera Jourova, vice president of the European Commission, which ensures that EU law is applied in the bloc's 27 nations, said the Commission would soon decide on its next steps towards Poland over a controversial law disciplining judges. She also said it is analyzing the topic of the “LGBT-free zones” — which have caused six Polish towns to lose some EU funding.

She said she strongly supports linking funding to rule of law.

“I sometimes say in a rather cynical way that who doesn’t understand our values, he usually understands the money. Let’s use this instrument,” she said. “The taxpayers of many member states — they are fed up (with) funding the projects in countries where fundamental rights are violated.”

Patryk Jaki, a Polish lawmaker from the Law and Justice party, accused the European lawmakers of treating any policies that are not left-wing as an attack on the rule of law.

He got support from Maximilian Krah, from Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany party, who said the criticism voiced Monday was the “usual attacks on conservative politics.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Chick-fil-A: No longer seeking lease at San Antonio airport
Chick-fil-A says it no longer plans to open a restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport, even though the Texas city relented and agreed to let it do so after more than a year of legal wrangling
3:24PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Hurricane Sally threatens Gulf Coast with a slow drenching
Hurricane Sally is closing in on the Louisiana-Mississippi coast with rapidly strengthening winds of at least 90 mph (145 kph) and the potential for as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of rain that could bring severe flooding
3:18PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: South Carolina lieutenant gov contracts COVID-19
South Carolina’s lieutenant governor has been diagnosed with COVID-19
3:16PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Vision 2020: Electoral College vs popular vote in America
One of the quirks of the U.S. election process is that one candidate can win the popular vote but another can win the electoral vote and thus the presidency
2:40PM ( 52 minutes ago )
US halts imports from China's Uighur region for forced labor
The U.S. has blocked imports from four companies and a manufacturing facility in northwestern China suspected of using forced labor from people detained as part of a sweeping crackdown on ethnic minorities in the region
2:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Biden: 2 Trump terms would worsen climate crisis
Joe Biden says wildfires and hurricanes will become “more devastating” if President Donald Trump wins a second term because he isn’t acting to address the climate crisis
2:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden faces worries that Latino support slipping in Florida
Florida is the nation's leading presidential battleground, and there’s mounting anxiety among Democrats that Joe Biden's standing among Latinos in the state is slipping
8:15AM ( 7 hours ago )
2020 Watch: How much more damage can Woodward do?
President Donald Trump is fighting to move past another bad week following revelations that he intentionally downplayed the threat of the coronavirus throughout the spring even though he knew better
5:27AM ( 10 hours ago )
India's Modi faces turbulent session as Parliament reopens
Indian lawmakers have returned to Parliament after a five-month absence
2:56AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Belarus leader visits Putin to secure support amid protests
Belarus’ authoritarian president is visiting Russia in a bid to secure more loans and political support as demonstrations against the extension of his 26-year rule enter their sixth week
2:43PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Perfectly preserved Ice Age cave bear found in Arctic Russia
Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found a perfectly preserved carcass of an adult Ice Age cave bear
2:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK museum in Oxford removes shrunken heads from display
Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum has removed its famous collection of shrunken heads and other human remains from display as part of a broader effort to “decolonize’’ its collections
2:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Chick-fil-A: No longer seeking lease at San Antonio airport
Chick-fil-A says it no longer plans to open a restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport, even though the Texas city relented and agreed to let it do so after more than a year of legal wrangling
3:24PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Hurricane Sally threatens Gulf Coast with a slow drenching
Hurricane Sally is closing in on the Louisiana-Mississippi coast with rapidly strengthening winds of at least 90 mph (145 kph) and the potential for as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of rain that could bring severe flooding
3:18PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: South Carolina lieutenant gov contracts COVID-19
South Carolina’s lieutenant governor has been diagnosed with COVID-19
3:16PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Biden assembles legal team ahead of divisive 2020 election
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is assembling a team of top lawyers in anticipation of court challenges to the election process that could ultimately determine who wins the race for the White House
3:12PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Daimler AG to pay $1.5B to settle emissions cheating probes
Automakers Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the U.S. government and California state regulators to resolve emissions cheating allegations
3:10PM ( 23 minutes ago )