The Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Law and Sexual Minorities’ Rights in the EU: The Cases of Hungary and Poland


Non-Discrimination Law
Sexual Minorities’ Rights
Europeans Union Law

How to Cite

Jędrzejowska-Schiffauer, I., & Łączak, M. (2022). The Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Law and Sexual Minorities’ Rights in the EU: The Cases of Hungary and Poland. Przegląd Prawniczy Uniwersytetu Im. Adam Mickiewicza, 14, 181–207.


The principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation are enshrined in the EU Treaties. A strong baseline is also laid down in secondary EU legislation. However, the impact of the respective provisions is constrained in two ways: by challenges to their enforcement and, regarding the secondary EU law, by limitations in their scope to employment. This paper takes stock of the EU non-discrimination law with respect to sexual minorities’ rights as well as the enforcement mechanisms applied by the EU to safeguard implementation in Member States. To contextualize the findings, we analyse the cases of Hungary and Poland where measures adopted by state and local authorities have led to decisive steps by the EU, including withholding financial transfers. The paper identifies systemic weaknesses in existing enforcement mechanisms and concludes by pointing to institutional reform which could address them.


Anderson, Jonas. “Court Capture”, Boston College Law Review 59, iss. 5. 2018: 1545–1594.

Belavusau, Uladzislau. “APenalty Card for Homophobia from EU Non-Discrimination Law.” Columbia Journal of European Law, 21, no. 2. 2015: 353–381.

Borelli, Silvia. “EU anti-discrimination law and the duty of care: fellows in the regulation of MNEs’ business relationships.” Revue de droit comparé du travail et de la sécurité sociale, no. 4. 2018: 30–43. DOI:

Bychawska-Siniarska, Dominika. Offence Intended – Virgin Mary With a Rainbow Halo as Freedom of Expression. Verfassungsblog, 14.05.2019. <>.

De Witte, Bruno. “The Constitutional Resources for an EU Minority Protection Policy.” In: Minority Protection and the Enlarged European Union, edited by Gabriel N. Toggenburg. Budapest, 2004: 107–124.

The Commissioner for Human Rights. The legal situation of non-heterosexual and transgender persons in Poland. International standards for the protection of LGBT persons’ human rights and compliance therewith from the perspective of the Commissioner for Human Rights. Report Synthesis. Warsaw, 2019.

Gerring, John. “Ideology: A definitional Analysis.” Political Research Quarterly 50, no. 4. 1997: 957–994. DOI:

ILGA-Europe. Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia. Brussels, 2021.

Jędrzejowska-Schiffauer, Izabela. “Business Responsibility for Human Rights Impact under the UN Guiding Principles: At Odds with European Union Law?.” European Law Review 46, no. 4. 2021: 481–504.

Kochenov, Dimitry, and Timofey Agarin. “Expecting Too Much: European Union’s Minority Protection Hide-and-Seek.” Anti-Discrimination Law Review 1. 2017: 1–52.

Kułak, Maciej. “Does the Feryn-Accept-NH Doctrine enhance a Common Level of Protection against Discrimination in the EU? A Reflection on the Procedural Aspects of the CJEU’s Concept of Discriminatory Speech.” European Law Review”, no. 4. 2021: 551–563.

Müller, Jan-Werner. “Should the European Union Protect Democracy and the Rule of Law in Its Member States,” European Law Journal 21, iss. 2. 2015: 141–160. DOI:

Polgári, Eszter, and Tamás Dombos. A New Chapter in the Hungarian Government’s Crusade Against LGBTQI People. Verfassungsblog, 18.11.2020. <>.

Rosenfeld, Michel. “Rethinking constitutional ordering in an era of legal and ideological pluralism.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 6, no. 3–4. 2008: 415–455. DOI:

Skórzyński, Jan. Atak na Marsz Równości w Białymstoku. Kronika Skórzyńskiego (20–26 lipca 2019)., 27.07.2019. <–26-lipca-2019/>.

Stanley, Ben. “The thin ideology of populism.” Journal of Political Ideologies 13, iss. 1. 2008: 95–110. DOI:

Stefanello, Viola. Italian Senate torpedoes anti-discrimination bill, EURACTIVE. it, <>.

Śledzińska-Simon, Anna. “Populists, gender, and national identity.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 18, iss. 2. 2020: 447–454. DOI:

Van Drooghenbroeck, Sébastien, Cecilia Rizcallah, Emmanuelle Bribosia, Olivier de Schutter, Isabelle Rorive, Jogchum Vrielink, Stéphanie Wattier, et al., Attack on the Rights of LGBTQIA+ People in Hungary: Not Just Words, but Deeds as Well?: An Open Letter. Verfassungsblog, 25.06.2021. <>.

Voigt, Stefan. “Mind the gap: Analyzing the divergence between constitutional text and constitutional reality.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 19, iss. 5. 2021: 1–32. DOI:

Walker, Neil. “The Idea of Constitutional Pluralism.” The Modern Law Review 65, no. 3. 2002: 317–359. DOI: