DEO

Can the EU help protect women’s and LGBT’s rights?

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The national-conservative Polish government backed by the pervasively influential Catholic church has recently almost totally banned abortion and declared LGBT an “evil ideology”. Can – and will - the EU do anything about it? Online debate with Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Danish MEP) and Sylwia Spurek (Polish MEP).

Last summer, the Polish president Andrzej Duda declared that LGBT are not people, but an “evil ideology”, and described LGBT as a form of “neo-Bolshevism” that is “smuggled into schools” in order to “sexualize children”.

Prior to this, the influential archbishop of Cracow has labelled LGBT a “rainbow plague”, while the country’s newly appointed education minister has insisted that “LGBT+ ideology grew out of… the same roots as Germany´s Hitlerian National Socialism, which was responsible for all the evil of World War II.”

Meanwhile, approximately 100 communities in Poland have declared themselves “free from LGBT-ideology”. It’s repressive and stigmatizing but it’s so far only rhetoric, as there are no laws in Poland legally criminalizing LGBT people.

In addition to this, in October 2020 the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that abortion is unconstitutional in nearly all cases (hence, only 26 cases performed in 2019 would have been legal according to the new law). However, the decision from the Court, which majority of the judges are politically appointed, backfired, millions of Poles took to the streets to demonstrate against the ruling, the church and the government.

On EU level, Article 2 in the EU treaty states that the EU is “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”, and that the member states share a “society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

The question arises whether the LGBT+ are “persons belonging to minorities”, and whether the right to abortion is essential for “equality between men and women” in EU terms? Should the decisions regarding women’s and LGBTs rights be left to the member states or should the EU interfere? And in that case, how should that be done? These questions form the basis of a debate with Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Danish MEP) and Sylwia Spurek (Polish MEP). 

The debate is organized by Demokrati i Europa Oplysningsforbundet (DEO). It takes place online Monday 1 February 2021, 13:00-14:00. 

The debate is free, but registration is required. You can register here. Then you will receive a link Monday morning. From there you can log into the meeting from your computer/tablet. 

For more information, comments and interview, contact:   

Project manager and analyst Vibe Termansen  

70 26 36 66 or vibe@deo.dk

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Vibe TermansenSeniorprojektleder og analytiker

Ekspert i polsk politik, samfund og historie. Følger med i samudviklingen i hele Centraleuropa, derunder demokrati- og retsstatsprincipper, medier, menneskerettigheder, LGBT, historiepolitik, klima, udvandring, fri bevægelighed, og forholdet til udlandet.

Vibe er cand.mag. i historie og østeuropastudier. Arbejdede som journalist og redaktør ved Weekendavisen 2008-18. Desuden har hun arbejdet for Den danske Ambassade i Warszawa, skrevet for Information og holdt foredrag. Hun udgav i 2019 bogen Kampen om Centraleuropa.

vibe@deo.dk

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