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EU’s twin town ban on anti-LGBTQ municipalities in Poland won’t make any difference to President Duda, the real target

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
EU’s twin town ban on anti-LGBTQ municipalities in Poland won’t make any difference to President Duda, the real target
Unable to inflict real punishment on Polish President Duda, the EU has hit out at the eastern Europeans for their anti-LGBTQ feelings by denying municipalities access to the twin town scheme, in a largely symbolic gesture.

The EU has been longing to find a way to punish Poland over its growing anti-LGBTQ sentiment but thwarting Polish twin town ambitions is unlikely to make much of a difference thanks to the shedloads of euros that the EU pours into the eastern European nation.

While the “LGBT-free” proposal adopted by some local municipalities in Poland really hasn’t won much support across western Europe, the very idea of the twin town scheme is to introduce different ideas across national borders, even if those ideas are bonkers. 

According to the EU’s very own literature explaining the Europe for Citizens programme:  “The Union is a cross-border community held together by the values of respect, tolerance, solidarity, non- discrimination, freedom of speech and the rule of law.”

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What that fails to make clear is that this is the case only as long as those values are identical to the host of predetermined, immovable beliefs as decided by the EU. Otherwise you are toast. 

Like most liberals, and Brussels is full of them, freedom of speech is only accommodated as long as what you are saying dovetails exactly with the self-appointed custodians of everything that is right. 

So those local Polish municipalities declaring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people unwelcome must be punished until they repent, or can be made to toe the line. 

The EU literature continues: “Europe is a place where ideas are exchanged freely, where people are treated with respect and where they feel involved irrespective of their beliefs, gender or racial background.” 

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While this theory all sounds noble enough, in practice, deviation from the accepted norm is neither encouraged nor tolerated. The EU backlash against the Poles, treating them like difficult children is hardly encouraging the free exchange of ideas. 

Some Poles don’t subscribe to the LGBT discussion, preferring to ignore or discourage it, largely because of deeply-entrenched and traditional Catholic beliefs that hold sway across their country. It might seem a bit old-fashioned in the 21st century, but Polish people are certainly entitled to hold that view, disagreeable as it might be to others. 

Obviously, the EU doesn’t like it, and as is their modus operandi, the strong men of Brussels resorted to financial punishment to make their point. But it’s unlikely to prove much of a deterrent. 

With all the money sloshing around the EU the twin town scheme brings €25,000 to a local municipality’s coffers – even to those wayward Poles that may not make much of a difference.

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After all, Poland is the largest net beneficiary from the EU budget. After taking into account its own contribution to the bloc, in 2018 it came out €11 billion ahead, more than twice the €5 billion that second-highest beneficiary Hungary managed.

To put that in context, Germany was out of pocket by more than €17 billion. 

What really annoys Brussels is that the difficult outlier Andrzej Duda was recently re-elected as Poland’s president, having campaigned against LGBTQ equality, forbidding gay marriage and prohibiting LGBTQ issues from school curricula. 

But because any move against Warsaw would need the assent of all EU member nations, there’s little the EU can do to force their liberal agenda onto Duda on their own. 

The twin town ban is the best they could come up with – for now.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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