By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS, Sept 16 (.) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that there is no place in the EU for so-called « LGBT-free zones », a harsh criticism of the Polish nationalist government, which is pushing to reduce the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

« LGBTQI-free zones are humanity-free zones. And they have no place in our (European) Union, » Von der Leyen said in his annual political address to the European Parliament.

« Violations of the rule of law cannot be tolerated, » he said.

Last month, Poland’s Justice Minister said the Polish city that had lost EU funding after calling itself an « LGBT ideology » free zone would receive financial support from the government.

Von der Leyen indicated that the bloc’s Executive will soon present « a strategy to reinforce the rights of the LGBTQI collective » and promote the recognition of all types of families in the different EU countries.

« If you are a father or mother in one country, you are in all countries, » he said.

Currently, some states in the bloc recognize same-sex marriage and parenting, but others do not.

This leads to situations where, for example, two women recognized as mothers in France would not be treated in the same way in Poland, which implies that they do not have the same rights depending on the EU territory in which they are.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, as well as its Eurosceptic ally Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, are in a confrontation with the EU over this and other issues.

Von der Leyen also criticized the appearance of anti-Semitic carnival effigies, something common in places like Belgium, where the famous Aalst parade was removed from UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage of humanity for its alleged racism and anti-Semitism. (Information by Gabriela Baczynska; edited by William Maclean; translation by Jorge Martínez)