Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Duck in deep water over death penalty and gay rights

It’s no good Kaczynski and co. complaining that ‘nobody warned us’ that the EU might not like his views on social issues.

The UK Independent reports that Poland’s new president, Lech Kaczynski, might loose Poland its voting rights in the EU. The newspaper says:

“Poland was given a blunt warning over its human rights obligations yesterday - after the election of a president who has sought to curb gay rights and campaigned for the restoration of the death penalty.“

On the election stump, Kaczynski has come across as a bit of a ‘hang ‘em and log ‘em type of politician. He is a populist, playing on fears of rising crime and the Gay Bogey Man, which a few deluded souls here believe is stalking the land, turning innocent young heterosexuals into raving queens.

When Kaczynski banned the Gay Pride march through Warsaw this year and last, human rights groups and EU spokespeople warned that he was breaking several EU obligations, and was going against Poland’s own Constitution.

A spokesman for the EU Commission told the Independent:

“One of the conditions for starting negotiations with a potential candidate country is that the existing death penalty must be abolished. [Kaczynski’s statements on this issue are] considered not to be in line with the basic values on which the EU is based."

Robert Kostro – who advises Polish MEP’s – told Polskie Radio this morning that the claim by the UK Guardian newspaper that the EU Commission is threatening Poland’s voting rights was false, and the Polish side was completely unaware of any such proposal.

“It would be very surprising if the Commission interfered so brutally in the internal matters of another state,” he said.

Oh, really? I know that Lech Kaczynski is not so keen on foreign travel, and that he is as geographically-challenged as his US counterpart, but surely he must of heard of a country called Austria. In 2000 the EU cut bilateral talks with that country after it included the far-right, anti-immigration, Freedom Party in its government.

It could be argued that the EU is trespassing on the internal matters of a sovereign state. But I am sure that Kaczynski, and his band of merry men, have already noticed that the one thing that the EU is really clear about– apart from defending farmers’ rights to get money for sitting around and doing nothing – is defending European standards of human rights.

Criticism from Brussels will bolster Euroscepticism among Kaczynski’s conservative supporters, of course. Which is a shame. Opposition to the EU should not be based on reactionary prejudices.

The merry men are also whispering that the only reason a fuss is being made over Polish human rights issues is because Brussels is worried that Kaczynski will be far more aggressive in defending Poland’s national position in the EU.

But watch how meek the hanging and flogging talk gets when the Polish government – if they have cobbled one together by then - tries to pursuade the EU to agree to the new budget at the special meeting this December. Poland is hoping to receive lots of nice subsidies for its farmers from that little cash-cow.


Becca said...

Poor poor Poland. It was doing so well. How could they vote in this homophobic nationalist who will curb as many rights as the EU lets him get away with? Everyone I speak to is devastated. I guess Warsaw isn't representative.
It's just not right.
All we can do is join Martin Schultz, in his hope that "the president will be a different kind of person to the [one we saw as] candidate."
Fat chance.

beatroot said...

Welcome becca!

If you look at the election map of Poland you will see Kaczynski rules the east of Poland, and Tusk the west. Western Poland is more developed and less religious than the east. And in this country it is very difficult to get in government without getting the eastern vote...hence Kaczynski's victory.

By the way, I saw a very nasty comment on the Direland blog ( the above topic. Someone called C judge thinks that it might be a good idea that Poland was kicked out of the EU. Which is not just silly, it's very judge-mental! I posted a comment, and then the software went wrong and I ended up posting about ten comments by mistake. Ooops!

beatroot said...

I mean it, that is a brilliant comment post! Massive sarcasism, of course. But he has got a point about Dutch peacekepers in Srebrenica, and how fearless they were in the face of danger.

And the EU is going to try and impose types of conduct, human rights, etc. Which I thinik is crap, too. People in Poland should, and will, change Poland.

But that doesn't change the fact that the values the EU is trying to impose are civilized ones.

Gustav said...

the gay lobby

What a great phrase! Now we can use that to villanize them too. How dare they organize to fight for their rights! Today political lobbying, tomorrow *gasp* adoption! It's going too far! these people must be silenced!

To send Dutch military units to Poland could be a good idea as they could bring an enlighting spirit and such advancements in the field of human rights as euthanasia and so on

Are you actually suggesting with your sarcasm that the Dutch are less enlightened than the Poles because they allow euthanasia? What twisted logic.

And who's imposing? Wouldn't you rather agree that the denial of the right to adopt children based solely on sexual preference is more of an "imposition" than letting gay folks have kids?

Sorry if I sound like a broken record on this issue, but I can't help myself when someone comes out with bigoted right-wing spin like that.

Becca said...

I've had so many discussions since arriving in Poland about homosexual adoption that I'm sure most people see me coming and put their heads down whispering 'oh no, it's the western girl with her extreme views'.

'People in Poland should, and will, change Poland.' You're right, but when?

beatroot said...

I must say, becca, that all the time I have been in Poland nobody has talked to me about gay adoption!

But anything can happen...look at Spain. Catholic country, and they have just passed laws on gay unions you never know. But I not be holding your breath in Poland for the next four years at least!

beatroot said...

But I think the bit about the Dutch was in reference to when they were 'peacekeeping' during the Balkans conflict in the 1990's When the Serbs attacked Srebrenica, the Dutch...ran away!

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