Polish Presidency without Equality
The Polish government announced that the Polish Presidency of the EU was a success. Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s speech before the European Parliament where he summed up the six months of the Polish Presidency was well received and highly appreciated by the parliamentarians. The leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, claimed that: “the Polish Presidency has undoubtedly been one of the best in recent years”. But has it really? What actions were undertaken during the Polish leadership? And particularly, what happened to equality as a priority of the Polish presidency?
Economic issues in general and the European economic crisis in particular dominated the Polish Presidency. Members of the European Parliament listed three achievements of the Polish EU presidency: 1.) proficient leadership towards the acceptance of the 2012 EU budget, regardless of the growing economic differences between Member States; 2.) the signing of the accession treaty with Croatia and 3.) the skilful preparation of the negotiation regarding the debt crisis in the EU. Among the failures of the Polish Presidency some mentioned the lack of initiatives in the area of social policy. Indeed, if one were to analyse the media coverage of the Polish Presidency (the Presidency was covered by Polish media only minimally), almost nothing would be found on issues of equality between women and men. While economic and financial issues dominated the reporting on the Polish Presidency, only a few media mentioned the 5th European Equality Summit -the most important meeting of the European Union devoted to the issues of equality and non-discrimination- that took place in Poznan in November of 2012.
The Summit was entitled ‘Promoting equality at the local and regional level’ and during the meeting, the ‘Poznan Declaration’ was drafted and adopted. From a press release on the Polish Presidency website one can learn that the document speaks of the need to engage local and regional authorities -that have a direct contact with the citizens- in carrying on the programmes that prevent discrimination and promote equal opportunities. But the detail information about the particular goals and objectives, strategies as well specific quotations from and recommendations of the document are nowhere to be found.
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Joanna Piotrowska is a feminist activist and a trainer for self-defence and assertiveness of women and girls as well as a WenDo trainer. She is also an antidiscrimination, equality and antiviolence expert and the founder of Feminoteka Foundation, one of the most important feminist organisations in Poland.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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