MEPs ask urgent questions to the Commission on Polish Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment

Monday, 27 September 2010

Following a growing row in Poland over homophobic comments by the Government’s Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment, Members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to clarify their position over several points.

Elżbieta Radziszewska

Elżbieta Radziszewska (Credit: PAP)

Update at 18:30 CET: Following reports from Polish media and after confirming with official services, the European Commission is not going to ask Mrs Radziszewska to be on the jury of the EU Journalist Award ‘Together against Discrimination’ anymore. The Commission declined to comment on any link to her recent positions.

While taking part in a televised public debate on 21st September 2010, Polish Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment Elżbieta Radziszewska affirmed that Directive 2000/78/EC contained provisions for faith-based schools to discriminate against teachers on grounds of their sexual orientation. She further expressed the opinion that schools would be right to do so.

Mrs Radziszewska further accused her opponent in the debate, lawyer Krzysztof Śmiszek, of bias because he “is known to be a member of the homosexual community; is an activist of the Campaign Against Homophobia, it’s an open secret who his partner is”. Mrs Radziszewska thereby criticised Mr Śmiszek ad hominem and revealed his sexual orientation on air, failing to demonstrate the professional restraint her position requires.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, asked the Commission two questions (link):

What is the Commission’s interpretation of provisions contained in Directive 2000/78/EC and relevant case law with regards to faith-based schools employing teachers considering their sex and sexual orientation?

Is the Commission of the opinion that the Polish Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment, charged with protecting citizens’ fundamental rights in Poland, has inter alia a responsibility to promote the non-discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people?

Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-president of the Intergroup, asked another question about Mrs Radziszewska’s role in a EU journalism award (link):

In the light of this most recent incident, does the Commission still consider Mrs. Radziszewska’s presence on the jury of the EU Journalist Award ‘Together against Discrimination’ compatible with the values of equality and non-discrimination the EU must promote?

A formal response is expected within three weeks.

Update (2): The European Commission responded to the questions on 26th October 2010.


Posted in: Parliamentary work, Recent news