Poland and Hungary block ‘gender equality’ at EU social summit – fr

Poland and Hungary block ‘gender equality’ at EU social summit – fr

Lobbying from Poland and Hungary led to the removal of the phrase ‘gender equality’ from a Friday statement on promoting social cohesion in the European Union as it strives to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Polish nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS) and its Eurosceptic ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, promote what they call traditional social values ​​at home and have repeatedly clashed with their more liberal Western peers over rights. women, homosexuals and migrants.

The two countries opposed direct mention of “gender equality” in a statement by the bloc’s 27 national leaders, who meet on Friday and Saturday in the Portuguese city of Porto to seek ways to reduce social inequalities and economic conditions that widened during the pandemic.

While an earlier draft said the bloc would “promote gender equality,” the latest version seen by Reuters avoids the phrase and reads: “We will step up our efforts to combat discrimination and actively work to address the gaps. gender gaps… and promote equality. ”

European Union diplomats said Warsaw and Budapest had sought looser language. Both governments support Catholic and conservative social values ​​in contentious positions that have gone hand in hand with growing state control and political influence over the media, courts and academics.

The European Commission’s gender equality strategy for 2020-2025 sets out its objective as “a Union where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free to follow the path they they have chosen in life, have equal opportunities to flourish and can participate and also lead our European society ”.

Arriving in Porto, Orban told reporters: “The point is that men and women should be treated equally.” He said he was against talking about “gender”, which he saw as “ideologically motivated phrase”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also spoke only of the need to “close the gap between men and women” in the workplace, rather than greater social equality for groups with diverse sexual orientations.

In Poland, some regions proclaimed themselves “LGBT-free zones” and received government support after losing EU funding due to this discrimination.


ILGA Europe, an LGBTI rights group, said erasing language means erasing gender equality as a principle.

“Attacking the term gender is a strategy widely applied by anti-human rights actors to undermine advances in women’s rights, sexual and reproductive rights, and LGBTI rights,” he said.

Despite the backlash on the tongue, leaders will nonetheless commit to an inclusive recovery from the bloc’s record-breaking pandemic-triggered recession, which has killed nearly 700,000 people in Europe, closed businesses and travel, and confined millions of people. people in their homes.

Women, young people, workers in the odd-job economy and victims of domestic violence are among the groups that have been particularly affected by the worsening of pre-existing inequalities.

“The priority will be to move from protection to job creation and improving the quality of employment,” said the leaders’ statement, and welcomed a proposal to go beyond readings of the GDP to measure economic and social progress.

Twenty-four leaders are present in person, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and two others participating in discussions that also cover divisions over patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines and the EU’s close ties to Russia.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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