Malopolska regional assembly in Poland voted to keep its degrading designation as an area free of “LGBT ideology”, despite the threat of losing European Union funding.
Officials said they had received a letter from the European Commission stating that they could lose out on more than €2.5 billion in funding if they refuse to respect LGBT rights.
The letter urged local authorities to scrap their LGBT free zone resolutions, which were controversially adopted in numerous parts of the country in 2019, adding that they should do so by mid-September at the latest or they would risk losing out on funding.
An opposition motion was brought forward to revoke the resolution, however it was rejected in a vote with the help of Poland’s staunchly conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
There was widespread backlash in 2019 when it emerged that numerous regions across Poland had declared themselves “LGBT free zones”. The declarations came following years of pushback against LGBT rights in Poland, with some of the country’s leading conservative figures claiming "LGBT ideology” represented a threat to Christian values.
Hungary has also faced the ire of Europe after it introduced a law prohibiting the “promotion” of LGBT identities. Human rights bodies have warned that both countries’ laws are part of a general backsliding on LGBT rights being seen across parts of Europe and the wider world.