Like the French and the Dutch, who rejected the European constitutional treaty earlier this year, the Poles have shocked Brussels by voting politically incorrect. If the Eurocrats in Brussels were able, they would send the Poles back to the polls. Brussels is deeply dissatisfied with the president whom 54% of the Polish voters elected last Sunday. Lech Kaczynski, a former Solidarity member and human rights activist who as “an anti-socialist element” spent time in jail in the 1980s, is opposed to economic liberalisation. But that is not what bothers the social corporatists in Eurocratia. Kaczynski is also a Eurosceptic but, surprisingly, that does not seem to bother them much either. What really angers them is that the Poles have elected a “homophobe,” who according to the Eurocrats has no respect for human rights.
There is no place in Europe for “homophobes.” Last year the European Parliament rejected the Italian minister Rocco Buttiglioni – a staunch Europhile – as EU Commissioner for Justice because, during a hearing in the European Parliament on October 5, Buttiglioni had said that as a Catholic he considered gay activities “sinful,” even though he added that this would not affect his political decisions: “One has to make a distinction between morality and law. I may think of homosexuality as a sin but that has no effect unless I say it is a crime.” Buttiglione’s remark was sufficient for the EP to express a veto against him becoming Commissioner. To consider homosexual acts sinful, as Catholics do, is apparently incompatible with EU values.
Now Poland, one of the EU’s six largest countries, has elected a president who is a Catholic. Kaczynski twice banned a so-called “gay pride parade” in Warsaw after he became the city’s mayor in 2002. Most people are not surprised that Poland, one of the last Catholic societies in Europe, does not allow parades of the kind one annually sees winding through the streets of Brussels (and which is also criticized by homosexuals who feel ashamed at the display of lewdness and exhibitionism there). Kaczynski banned the parade because he argued that children should not be confronted with the spectacle and because people should not flaunt their sexual inclinations in the streets.
This week the guardians of EU morality in both the European Parliament and the Commission felt compelled to give Poland “blunt warnings” about its “human rights obligations.” Martin Schultz, the German who leads the socialist group in the European Parliament and who grilled Buttiglioni there last year, told The Independent that Kaczynski is “on probation.” He added: “I hope the president will be a different kind of person to the [one we saw as] candidate.” A remarkable quote from a German, considering that Herr Schultz is not the first German politician to put the Poles “on probation.”
The European Commission, too, threatened the Poles. Commission spokespersons even announced that Poland might lose its voting rights in the EU’s ministerial meetings if it “continues to oppose gay rights” and if it restores the death penalty, as Kaczynski promised during his electoral campaign. On Tuesday The Guardian reported from Brussels that “in a shot across the bows of arch-conservative Lech Kaczynski, the commission declared that all member states must abide by EU rules which protect minorities and block the death penalty.”
Friso Roscam Abbing, the European Commission’s justice spokesman, warned Warsaw that a failure to comply could trigger article 7 of the Nice Treaty, which allows the EU to deprive a member state of voting rights if this state is in “serious breach” of its obligations on human rights. Jonathan Todd, the principal commission spokesman, added: “We are going to follow the situation very attentively.”
Have they got nothing better to do? Apparently not. They have long been looking for excuses to lecture the new EU member states and to teach them a lesson. As one [leftwing, American] blogger perceptively remarked:
Most of Western Europe never wanted all those Eastern European nations in the EU in the first place – one of the major reasons the votes on the constitution failed. So Poland’s right-wing new government’s homophobia becomes the perfect opportunity to 1) do the right thing while 2) preserving Western Europe’s pride of place and cultural hegemony in the EU.