Conservative Poland Roils European Union

NYT/International Herald Tribune GRAHAM BOWLEY December 7, 2005


BRUSSELS – When Polish members of the European Parliament placed an anti-abortion display in a parliamentary corridor in Strasbourg, France, recently, Ana Gomes, a Socialist legislator from Portugal, felt compelled to act, she said.

The display showed children in a concentration camp, linking abortion and Nazi crimes. “We found this deeply offensive,” Ms. Gomes said. “We tried to remove it.” A loud scuffle ensued as she and the Poles traded insults before the display was bundled away by Parliament guards.

But the matter does not end there. It was the latest skirmish in what some here see as an incipient culture war in the heart of Europe, a clash of values that has intensified since countries from Central and Eastern Europe that are experiencing an increase in the influence of the Roman Catholic Church joined the European Union last year.

In the 732-seat European Parliament, and more widely in the European Union, the clash extends beyond abortion to issues like women’s rights and homosexuality.

“New groups have come in from Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, and Catholicism is certainly becoming a very angry voice against what it sees as a liberal E.U.,” said Michael Cashman, 54, a European Parliament member from Britain who has campaigned for gay rights. “On women’s rights and gay equality, we are fighting battles that we thought we had won years ago.”



1 thought on “Conservative Poland Roils European Union”

  1. The poor EU. They have no idea what they are in for with the Poles. As the husband of a Polish wife, I can honestly feel sorry for the effete bureaucrats. They are in for it.

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