Thirteen countries of the European Union, including the two most powerful – Germany and France – issued a press release on Tuesday (22) calling for action after the adoption, by the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, of a law deemed anti-LGBT and at odds with fundamental rights.
Hungarian law stipulates that “content that encourages abuse of gender identity, reassignment and homosexuality must not be accessible to persons under the age of 18”, with measures affecting educational programs, advertising, cultural works and television programs.
The move sparked protests in Hungary and concerns about further government progress ahead of the 2022 elections. As head of the country since 2010, Orbán has already removed several LGBT rights, such as gender reassignment in documents, and amended the Constitution and electoral rules to concentrate power.
France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said the legislation “discriminates against people LGBTQIA + and violates the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children “.
The signatories call on the European Commission “to use all the instruments at its disposal to ensure full respect for European law” and appeal to the bloc’s main court, the EU Court of Justice.
“We are no longer in the Middle Ages”, declared the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, considering that the amendment is “unworthy of Europe”. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is gay, wrote on social media that he was “happy” that his country had signed the declaration.
Last week, the European Commission said it was reviewing the law to see if it violated EU law. In this case, the bloc’s executive can initiate infringement proceedings, which could lead the country to the EU Court of Justice.
The 13-country statement came at a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg specifically on the rule of law situation in Hungary, which is under scrutiny by the bloc for breaches of law. independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and the rights of refugees.
Since 2018, Orbán’s government has been subject to a process known as Article 7, a disciplinary process for countries deemed to be at risk of violating core EU values.
Ultimately, the procedures of Article 7 may lead to the suspension of a country’s voting rights at the European Council, a body which brings together the governments of 27 members. For this, however, the unanimous approval of the other 26 members is required, which is unlikely as Poland, also under investigation, is backing the Orbán government.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the criticisms were based on fake news. “This law is not directed against any community in Hungary, only against pedophiles,” he said.
According to him, the law only regulates that “as long as children are under 18, sex education is the sole responsibility of parents. Szijjarto also said Hungarian laws are a national competence and should not be discussed by the EU.
France also “regretted” UEFA’s decision to ban the Munich stadium from being lit in the colors of the rainbow (symbol of LGBT rights) during the match between Germany and Hungary. , Wednesday (23).
The German municipality wanted to support those who have had their rights stripped by the law promoted by Orbán, but the sports organization has said it does not allow political acts in the matches it is hosting, an attitude hailed on Tuesday as “Common sense” by the head of the Hungarian diplomacy.