From strong-man politicians to gender parity, identity politics is at the centre of the political array in this year’s European elections. More recently, Poland’s leading Law and Justice Party (PiS) has taken aim at a declaration that promises protections to LGBT youth in Warsaw and was signed by mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in February.
PiS party leader Jarosław Kaczyński appealed to its base when it slammed the declaration — which would also implement anti-discrimination education in public schools — calling it an “attack on children”.
German MEP Elmar Brok, with the European People's Party, said the right-wing should not have the sole right to decide how identity politics are defined. Instead, he suggested that it should be shaped by local cultures.
“I believe that identity is that a nation, a region, groups of ethnic people, have their own identity, which in the plural society have all their rights — to live and have the possibility to say what they want."
Swedish MEP Linnea Engstrom, with the Greens, agreed, saying: ”I think that is very, very adequately put. This is really about empathy, about human rights. I don’t know why we lack empathy in the Union today.”
Engstrom added that the European Union was founded on the basis that all individuals deserve equal rights and protection regardless of ideological differences.
When it comes to identity politics and gender parity, the European People's Party’s lead candidate for commission president, Manfred Weber, made a pledged that half of his team of commissioners would be women.
While some critics may be wary of adopting gender quotas to achieve gender parity, Engstrom supported Weber's pledge.
“Women’s votes will make a huge difference in this election,” she said, adding that she hopes it wil bring more women to the polls.
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