Poland will support EU rights charter

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

The next Polish government will support the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights so vigorously opposed by the outgoing administration.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the Law and Justice party had claimed that Poland was “culturally different” from their EU partners, especially when it came to the rights of LGBT people and the use of the death penalty.

Civic Platform, the political party who won the most seats in Sunday’s Polish general election, is committed to adopting the charter, which broadly mirrors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Charter will become legally binding on EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice as part of the new Reform Treaty agreed by the EU heads of government in Lisbon last week.

Poland and the UK were the only two nations in the 27-member EU to opt out.

The leader of Civic Platform, Donald Tusk, will be chosen by his party as their candidate for Prime Minister today.

They are expected to form a coalition government with the Polish Peasants Party.

Mr Tusk is expected to be nominated to the premiership by the President, Lech Kaczynski, soon after the new Polish Parliament convenes on 5th November.

He has pledged to repair relations with the EU and Russia.

During a TV debate during the campaign he pledged to sign Poland up to the EU Charter.

Yesterday the EU Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights welcomed the change in government.

They expressed hope that Civic Platform’s pro-EU stance will mean a radical policy change, ending the threat of homophobic policies that had been proposed by the Law and Justice party.

Sophie in ‘t Veld, Vice-President of the Intergroup, said:

“The Polish people have sent a resounding ‘No!’ to the extremist views of the Kaczynski brothers, taking them to the fringes of Europe.

“Polish people have shown they want to be at the heart of Europe, and that they fully share the European values.

“A new government undoing the opt-out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights would be the best Christmas gift!”

Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights said:

“It is a victory of the ordinary and decent Polish citizens who have come out in force to say no to intolerance, no to injustice, no to homophobia.

“It is these same ordinary and decent citizens who came to support the Pride and Equality Marches organised in Poland.”

President Lech Kaczynski, twin brother of the outgoing Prime Minister, will remain in office until 2010.

Read the text of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights here.