Three Polish regions vote to drop ‘LGBT-free’ status amid threat of EU sanctions
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Three Polish regions vote to drop ‘LGBT-free’ status amid threat of EU sanctions

Three more regional councils in Poland voted to repeal motions declaring their provinces “LGBT-free” areas on Monday, according to the state-run news agency Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP). The southeastern regions of Podkarpackie, Lubelskie, and Małopolska join Swietokryskie in recanting the self-described designation.

The moves come less than a week after the first polish region to drop the moniker, Swietokryskie, repealed its anti-LGBT resolution. Earlier this month, the EU threatened to withhold funding for the aforementioned regions should the resolutions remain in place.

Earlier this month, the European Commission sent letters to the governors of the five provinces demanding they suspend the anti-LGBT declarations. EU officials formally warned that a failure to do so would result in a suspension of funds from the React-EU program. This would have meant cutting off the provinces from €126 million of financial aid intended to help regions and municipalities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Małopolska councillor Witod Kozłowski stated that no officials in the region “were ready to take responsibility” for leaving the region without funding. However, the councillor remained steadfast in favor of the region’s previous decision, saying that the initial declaration demonstrated the “importance and value of family” held in the deeply Catholic region.

Several Polish courts have deemed the declarations legally meaningless and constitutionally invalid, but their existence has fueled tensions in the region. Aside from the threat to withhold funds, the European Commission openly considered legal action against Poland in June for potentially violating EU treaties. As of today, one region holding “LGBT free” status remains.