July 25, 2021

Thirteen European Union countries call on the Commission to act to defend the rights of LGBTQIA + people in Hungary

Hungary found itself under fire from critics on Tuesday, June 22, in Luxembourg, where thirteen European countries, “Deeply worried”, called on the Commission to act after the adoption in Budapest of legislation banning the « promotion » homosexuality among minors.

On the occasion of this ministerial meeting, France too, through the voice of its Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, “Regretted” the refusal of UEFA, the organizing body of Euro football, to allow the illumination of the Munich stadium in the rainbow colors of the LGBTQIA + community for the Germany-Hungary match on Wednesday. A decision which, on the contrary, welcomed Budapest. The German municipality wanted, by this gesture, to protest against the law adopted last week in Hungary at the initiative of the sovereignist party of Viktor Orban.

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This Hungarian vote prompted a declaration from thirteen European countries, at the initiative of Belgium. They expressed their “Deep concern about the adoption by the Hungarian Parliament of discriminatory amendments against LGBTQIA + people and violating the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children”.

The declaration was signed by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, as well as the three Baltic countries. “We urge the European Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to use all the tools at its disposal to ensure full respect for European law, including by bringing cases before the Court of Justice of the EU”, indicate the signatories.

“We are no longer in the Middle Ages”

“The Europe of values ​​is not an à la carte menu”, underlined the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, in a press release. A little earlier, the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, had castigated a law “Unworthy of Europe”. “We are no longer in the Middle Ages”, he had launched.

Clément Beaune, for his part, denounced a law which “Assimilate” homosexuality “To a form of threat or propaganda”. These provisions “Clearly violate the values ​​of the EU”, also estimated the German Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Michael Roth. His Irish counterpart, Thomas Byrne, expressed concern about a “Very dangerous moment for Hungary as well as for the Union”.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, expressing concern last week, said the EU executive was examining whether the law “Violates European law”. The Commission has the power to initiate infringement proceedings for violation of European law against a country, which may lead to a referral to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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A “national competence”

Hungarian law provides that “Content that promotes gender identity deviation, sex reassignment and homosexuality should not be accessible to under 18s”.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto denounced « “fake news” », ensuring that this law “Was not directed against any community in Hungary, [mais] only against pedophiles “. The law “Only indicates that as long as children are under 18, their sex education is the sole responsibility of their parents”, he said, adding that the Hungarian Parliament’s vote was “A national competence which should not be called into question”. The minister greeted ” common sense “ leaders of European football who refused the illumination of Munich’s stadium, the Allianz Arena. The city has nevertheless decided to decorate several of its buildings.

Hungary, regularly accused of breaches of the rule of law by Brussels, is subject to European proceedings (Article 7 of the Treaty), just like Poland. In this context, the ministers of these two countries had to explain themselves Tuesday to their peers.

This is the fourth hearing for the Polish government, accused of attacks on the independence of the judiciary. It is the third for Hungary, accused of threats to the independence of judges, but also of violations of freedom of expression and the rights of migrants and refugees.

This Article 7 procedure, which is in both cases at a preliminary stage, can in theory lead to a suspension of the voting rights of a country within the Council, a body representing the Twenty-Seven. But it implies the unanimity of the other members, impossible as long as Warsaw and Budapest give each other mutual support.

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The World with AFP