news

French minister urges EU legal action on Polish LGBT-free zones

Clément Beaune, who came out as gay in December, was blocked from entering one of the zones this month

2021-03-15

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

French politician Clément Beaune has urged the European Union to take legal action against Poland's 'LGBT-free' zones.

In recent years, over 100 areas of Poland have declared war on so-called gay propaganda under the leadership of right-wing president Andrzej Duda.

Beaune, who came out publicly as gay in December 2020, was refused access to one of the zones earlier this month.

"Every possible tool"

Asked in a recent interview if he would call on the European Commission to use infringement proceedings against the zones, Beaune replied "yes."

He furthermore told Tetu: "We need to use every possible tool to sanction these behaviours that are against our values and our rules.”

According to the EU website page on infringement proceedings, 'if the EU country concerned fails to communicate measures that fully transpose the provisions of directives, or doesn’t rectify the suspected violation of EU law, the Commission may launch a formal infringement procedure.'

Non-compliance can lead to financial penalties.

Beaune - who is France's Secretary of State for European affairs in the French government - made the comments after the EU last week declared the territory an 'LGBT freedom zone', in response to rising levels of homophobia and transphobia in Poland, Hungary and other EU member states.

After trying to access one of Poland's zones, Beaune last week told French outlet L'Obs: "Polish authorities recently indicated to me that they weren’t capable of planning this visit, and I profoundly regret it. It is a decision that I deplore."

Beaune continued: "If I decided to maintain my visit to Poland, it’s because another topic — just as important in my eyes — has emerged: that of women’s right to abortion."

Poland has a near-total ban on abortion. 

Read the Attitude April Style issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.