Nomination of Tymoteusz Adam Zych as Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)18. Februar 2021
Dear President and Vice-Presidents,
As members of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, we write to you with concern over the recent taking up of functions of Tymoteusz Adam Zych as Polish Member in the EESC as of 21 September 2020.1 Mr Zych, registered as the Vice-president of the Board of Polish Non-Governmental Initiatives Confederacy, has been assigned to the Diversity Europe Group (Group III), specifically the sections for External Relations and Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship. Below, we highlight the reasons for our concern, which we ask you to take into careful consideration.
On the EESC’s website, the Diversity Europe Group is stated as being composed of members who, among others, represent “the family, women’s and gender equality issues, youth, minority and underprivileged groups, persons with disabilities […]”. We strongly welcome that the EESC gives such important consideration to these issues, especially after the publication of the recent EC Strategies under the “Union of Equality” heading. We refer of course to the Gender Equality2 and LGBTIQ Equality3 Strategies. However, this also explains why we are concerned over the influence that Mr Zych can exert in the Diversity Europe Group owing to his role as Vice-President of the Board of Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture, 4 which is conveniently omitted in his EESC page. As you might be aware, Ordo Iuris is an organisation which has long promoted anti-LGBTI, anti-women’s rights, anti-choice and anti-gender rhetoric in Poland, not least through its close ties with the Polish government’s policies on the matter.
On 26 November 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on abortion rights in Poland5 carrying the following mention (bold added):
W. whereas on 28 October 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński encouraged people to defend traditional Polish values and protect churches ‘at all costs’, which led to acts of aggression against protesters by nationalistic hooligans; whereas cultural and religious values in Poland are thus being abused as reasons to impede the full realisation of women’s rights, equality for women and their right to make decisions about their own bodies; whereas a fundamentalist organisation, Ordo Iuris, which is closely linked to the ruling coalition, has been a driving force behind campaigns aiming to undermine human rights and gender equality in Poland, including attempts to ban abortion, calls for Poland’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and calls for the creation of ‘LGBTI-free zones’;
Ordo Iuris equally represents the interests of the “Agenda Europe” think tank6 which aims, according to its own manifesto, to “reverse the ‘achievements of the cultural revolution’ of the 60’s in Europe”. As reported by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)7 and later the Grand Coalition for Equality and Choice (a coalition of nearly 100 human rights NGOs)8: “The ‘cultural revolution’ that they aim at reversing and against which they operate is nothing else but emancipation of women, recognition of their equal rights, as well as equality of LGBT+ persons, national and ethnic
minorities in both public and private sphere.”
– Do the president and vice-presidents consider that, owing to his role as Vice-President of the Board of Ordo Iuris, Mr Zych will be in capacity to truly represent “the family, women’s and gender equality issues, youth, minority and underprivileged groups, persons with disabilities”, with a view to fighting discrimination against such groups, as stipulated in the core work of the Diversity Europe Group? Should his nomination pose a problem to furthering the work of this Group, what action could you envisage?
– Do you consider that, owing to Ordo Iuris’ role in providing legal support to municipalities that have adopted resolutions on being free of LGBTI ideology and of Charters of Family Values, Mr Zych’s work on the LGBTIQ Strategy may raise serious conflicts of interest? If so, which measures can you take to address the situation?
– Do you consider that, owing to Ordo Iuris’ role as a driving force in the campaigns that aim to undermine gender equality in Poland, including the ban on abortion, Mr Zych’s work in the field of gender equality may contribute to restrict, rather than protect and ensure, gender equality policies? If so, which measures can you take to address the situation?
Thank you for your answer to these questions.
Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup (S&D)
Terry REINTKE, Co-Chair, LGBTI Intergroup (Greens-EFA, Vice-President)
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (EP Vice-President, Non-attached)
Liesje SCHREINEMACHER, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (Renew Europe)
Malin BJÖRK, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (The Left)
Maria WALSH, Vice-President, LGBTI Intergroup (EPP)
Frédérique RIES, Vice-President, Renew Europe
Alice KUHNKE, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD, Vice-President, Greens/European Free Alliance
Sira REGO, Vice-President, The Left
Cyrus ENGERER (S&D)
Dietmar KÖSTER (S&D)
Evelyne GEBHARDT (S&D)
Gabriele BISCHOFF (S&D)
Giuliano PISAPIA (S&D)
Giuseppina PICIERNO (S&D)
Hilde VAUTMANS (Renew Europe)
Irène TOLLERET (Renew Europe)
Karen MELCHIOR (Renew Europe)
Karin KARLSBRO (Renew Europe)
Łukasz KOHUT (S&D)
Manu PINEDA (The Left)
Magdalena ADAMOWICZ (EPP)
Manuel BOMPARD (The Left)
Monika VANA (Greens-EFA)
Pernando BARRENA (The Left)
Radka MAXOVÁ (Renew Europe)
Rasmus ANDRESEN (Greens-EFA)
Robert BIEDROŃ (S&D)
Rosa D’AMATO (Greens-EFA)
Saskia BRICMONT (Greens-EFA)
Sophie IN’T VELD (Renew Europe)
Sylvie GUILLAUME (S&D)
Sylwia SPUREK (Greens-EFA)
1 EESC’ Members Page, https://memberspage.eesc.europa.eu/Search/Details?personId=2038862 (consulted on January 252021).
2 European Commission, “A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025”, COM(2020) 152 final, accessible at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52020DC0152.
3 European Commission, “A Union of Equality: LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025”, COM(2020) 698 final, accessible at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0698.
4 Ordo Iuris, “Tymoteusz Zych Ph.D., accessible at https://en.ordoiuris.pl/tymoteusz-zych-ph-d (consulted on 25 January2021).
5 European Parliament resolution of 26 November 2020 on the de facto ban on the right to abortion in Poland (2020/2876(RSP)), accessible at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0336_EN.html.
6 „Restoring the Natural Order, An Agenda for Europe“, accessible at https://agendaeurope.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/rtno2014.pdf.
7 “Restoring the Natural Order: The religious extremists’ vision to mobilize European societies against human rights on sexuality and reproduction”, accessible at https://www.epfweb.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/rtno_epf_book_lores.pdf. 8 „Cultural and religious counterrevolution. Is Polish Law under the Threat of Christian Fundamentalists’ Ideology? Publication
– Context and Summary“, accessible at https://www.wielkakoalicja.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/OI_EN_wer-2.pdf.