Members of the European Parliament have taken part in the official opening of theEuroGames 2012 in Budapest, the Hungarian capital.

Each year, the EuroGames gather LGBT athletes and their friends. More than 2,000 participants from 34 European countries are taking part in this year’s Games.

However, the Budapest Assembly and the Mayor of Budapest declined supporting or endorsing the event in any way.

Organisers voiced fears that growing intolerance against LGBT people in Hungary could lead to attacks during the event.

Ulrike Lunacek and Kinga Göncz, Members of the European Parliament from the LGBT Intergroup, lent their support to the official opening ceremony yesterday.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, recalled: “The atmosphere at the grand opening of the EuroGames in Budapest was very good. Not only were there over 2,000 participants, but they came from countries where it may still be dangerous to live openly: Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia, and many others.”

“This event is a huge success for the organisers, considering the city has denied them any support. I am confident that the Games will contribute to more openess in Hungary”, Ms Lunacek added. She also thanked EU Ambassadors for expressing their support.

Kinga Göncz MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Hungary, added: “The EuroGames is a competition for admirable and accomplished sportspeople. It provides an opportunity for members of the LGBT community as well as their friends to compete together in a friendly atmosphere; and by so doing, they demonstrate that there is no place among them for exclusion, or for prejudice against those who are different”.

“We Hungarians can all be proud that such a major event first takes place in our country, out of all former Eastern Bloc states.”