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Hungary’s homophobic PM furious to learn his actions have consequences

Emma Powys Maurice July 16, 2021
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Hungary Viktor Orbán

Prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty)

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán accused the European Commission of “legalised hooliganism” for taking action against his cruel anti LGBT+ “propaganda” law.

The far-right leader was dismayed after the executive arm of the EU announced on Thursday that it would be taking action against both Hungary and Poland for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”.

The commission said that Hungary’s ban on the portrayal of LGBT+ people in media, school materials and advertisements runs counter to several EU laws, “violates human dignity, freedom of expression and information, the right to respect of private life” and the “right to non-discrimination”.

Hungary was issued with a letter of formal notice with an order to “correct” the issue within two months. If it fails to do so, the EU could take the case to the European Court of Justice, which may impose steep financial penalties.

Responding to the threat on Friday (16 July), Orbán furiously told state radio: “This is legalised hooliganism… The European Commission’s stance is shameful.”

He said the debate offered Hungarians a glimpse into “European life”, into what went on in schools in Germany, reiterating that Hungary would not let LGBT+ activists “march up and down” in schools promoting what he called “sexual propaganda”.

Hungary ignored warnings over anti-LGBT+ legislation

That Hungary is now facing consequences for its actions can hardly come as a shock to Orbán, who has repeatedly shrugged off the EU’s threats of sanctions over his “shameful” anti-LGBT+ law.

The condemnation has escalated in recent weeks amid tense closed-door discussions between leaders and lawmakers, yet the Hungarian homophobe-in-chief would not be moved.

“Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBT+ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain,” his chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, said last week. “We are not willing to do that.”

The threat of financial sanctions could be potentially devastating to Hungary, which received €6.3bn from the EU in 2018 – equivalent to nearly five per cent of its total economy.

But rather than scaling back his bigotry the prime minister actually seems more likely to step up his anti-LGBT+ campaign, which is expected to feature prominently on his political platform ahead of a potentially tough national election next year.

In the past two weeks, huge blue billboards have been erected nationwide bearing slogan such as: “Have you been annoyed with Brussels?” and “Are you afraid your children will face sexual propaganda?”

Orban on Friday also predicted another clash over EU recovery funds, which have been withheld by Brussels but which he said Hungary would eventually get.

Related topics: EU, Hungary

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