World

EU leaders send thinly veiled threat to Hungary over cruel anti-LGBT+ law

Lily Wakefield June 24, 2021
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anti-LGBT+ prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán

Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, at a press conference in February. (Getty/ NurPhoto/ Beata Zawrzel)

As the EU summit begins this week (24 and 25 June), leaders of 17 EU countries have signed a letter hitting out at horrific new anti-LGBT+ legislation in Hungary.

A new law in Hungary which bans the “promotion” of LGBT+ issues in schools and the media was passed by Viktor Orbán’s ruling party Fidesz last week.

In the letter, which does not explicitly mention Hungary but states that it was written “in the light of threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”, the leaders vowed to “continue fighting against discrimination towards the LGBT+ community”.

They that 28 June, International LGBT+ Pride Day, “will be a day to remember that we are diverse and tolerant societies, committed to the unhindered development of the personality of each one of our citizens, including their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The letter was addressed addressed to the presidents of the European Commission, the Portuguese Council presidency and the European Council, and has been signed by Alexander De Croo (Belgium), Mette Frederiksen (Denmark), Angela Merkel (Germany), Kaja Kallas (Estonia), Micheál Martin (Ireland), Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Greece), Pedro Sánchez (Spain), Emmanuel Macron (France), Mario Draghi (Italy), Nicos Anastasiades (Cyprus), Krišjānis Kariņš (Latvia), Xavier Bettel (Luxembourg), Robert Abela (Malta), Mark Rutte (the Netherlands), Sanna Marin (Finland), Stefan Löfven (Sweden) and Sebastian Kurz (Austria).

Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister, told Brussels Playbook in a statement: “A member state makes laws that stigmatise a sexual minority and that mix up pedophilia and homosexuality – you can’t let that pass. For us heads of state and government, that is not acceptable.”

Orbán is expected to be confronted by other EU leaders at the summit over the latest anti-LGBT+ legislation in Hungary.

According to The Guardian, a senior EU official said that Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, “considers it important that this point is discussed”.

The day before the letter was sent, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen branded Hungary’s new anti-LGBT+ law “a shame” and said that her team would be sending a letter “to express our legal concerns before the bill enters into force”.

A European Commission official told Politico that the EU was consider an infringement procedure if Hungary goes ahead with implementing the new law, saying: “We can only formally infringe once the law has come into force, so we are warning the Hungarians that we will do so if they don’t respond to our concerns.”

Related topics: European Union, Hungary, viktor orban

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