On Tuesday, the Hungarian parliament passed new rules that would ban the teaching of LGBTIQ education and literature, advertisements and other materials, considered by the government to promote LGBTIQ rights, under the pretext of “protecting children “.
The proposals of the ruling Fidesz party echo similar legislation in Russia, aimed at singling out the LGBTIQ community. The General Affairs Council is due to discuss Hungary’s ongoing Article 7 procedure on June 22.
The European Commission says it has also launched a new investigation to find out whether Hungary’s new legislation complies with EU law.
European Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli tweeted that “everyone should be free and invited to be themselves without limitation and the Commission has a duty to protect this principle”.
On Thursday, during a press conference on the current situation in Hungary, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield expressed frustration at the perceived inability of the Commission to act against Hungary by implementing the rule of law mechanism , which links European funds to respect for democracy and the rule of law. .
The French MEP told reporters: “The Commission should use this new tool, but it is only through pressure that the Commission will really act. There is no point in looking at a hammer on a table and not knowing how to use it. At some point you have to use the hammer.
“The EU must now use the hammer against Hungary, but this is the step the Commission does not seem to want to take. This is a big concern – that nothing will change.
She expressed “doubts” about the future Slovenian EU presidency’s intention to act against Hungary, saying: “I don’t have much hope but I hope the French presidency [which starts on 1 January] will perform its duties.
“Once again, Fidesz is using censorship to stigmatize and scapegoat LGBTIQ people. Attacking freedom of expression, the right to education and freedom of the media is an affront to European values and has no place in the 21st century. Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Verts / ALE
She said during the online briefing: “I am not convinced that the Commission will act. He seems to be afraid of taking the risk of losing a lawsuit and just says he has a risk problem. But deep down, he’s just too shy to do anything.
Asked about the stated aim of the G7 summit last week to act against any democratic ‘pullback’ by member states, Delbos-Corfield asked: ‘what do they mean by that?
“No member state is perfect – Poland is another example – but there is nothing to compare with Hungary.”
She said this week’s new law underscored the “urgency” to act against Hungary, adding: “We have seen an intensification of attacks against the LGBTIQ community – which has become the new scapegoat, the new enemy. – and is targeted in Hungary. “
“For a long time it was migrants and liberal political parties, but we can clearly see that the LGBTIQ community, since the start of the crisis, has become the enemy.
On Tuesday, Delbos-Corfield and his Greens / ALE colleagues Terry Reintke, Kim van Sparrentak and others attended a protest against Hungary’s new law in Luxembourg Square in Brussels.
Delbos-Corfield said: “I have to admit that I am not surprised by this new law. Considering what happened, that was to be expected. But let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with the best interests of children.
She said: “Once again, Fidesz is using censorship to stigmatize and scapegoat LGBTIQ people. Attacking freedom of expression, the right to education and freedom of the media is an affront to European values and has no place in the 21st century.
“Using child protection as an excuse to target LGBTIQ people is detrimental to all children in Hungary… Children need real protection against abuse with effective public policies and should not be exploited to other purposes “
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Verts / ALE
“Using child protection as an excuse to target LGBTIQ people hurts all children in Hungary. Children and young people need access to health information and various media content in order to form informed opinions. Children need real protection against abuse with effective public policies and not to be used for other purposes.
“The Hungarian government must end this attack on fundamental rights. Any attempt to use child protection as an excuse to attack LGBTIQ rights should be considered by other member states in the upcoming Article 7 hearings later this month.
” It’s clear that [rule of law mechanism] should be the next step and I hope that the next EU presidencies after Slovenia will act. In the longer term, the elections in Hungary could lead to changes, but it is probably I who have too much hope.
She continued: “I can tell you that some Member States are discussing acting alone on this matter and are not waiting for the Commission to do something. The Netherlands and others are interested. They are all worried about the situation in Hungary, including this week’s latest developments, and believe it may be time for them to act on their own and the possibility that this is under consideration. “
“I think and hope that more action will come from the Member States. The EU calls for solidarity with regard to the rule of law, but this will not happen if we do not have clear assurance that EU money will be used well. This [Member State action] could be a way to work more effectively on this point.
In a tweet, Dutch Greens / EFA member Kim van Sparrentak said the law was a ‘cut and paste’ of similar Russian legislation, adding: “This is not the first and it will not be the first. last time Orbán took away basic human rights from the LGBTIQ community.
The S&D group issued a statement saying: “We cannot remain silent and let Orbán attack LGBTIQ people in Hungary in this way. Silence is complicity, so we must show solidarity with the community.
Maltese socialist member Cyrus Engerer also attacked the EU for failing to act, tweeting: “The inaction of the European institutions goes against the treaties”.
He added: “We demand EU sanctions against Hungary for silencing this community with this new law. “
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said in a tweet that she was “very concerned” by the law which “further stigmatizes people” and “undermines” freedom of expression and non-discrimination.
Luxembourg socialist deputy Marc Angel said he was “shocked by the fact that Hungary is following the Russian example and introducing a law on anti-LGBTI propaganda. Shame on Orbán and Fidesz for continuing to scapegoat minorities. My thoughts are with the many progressive, pro-European and pro-democracy Hungarians. “
Another comment came from Dudits Luca, spokesperson for the Hatter Society, one of Hungary’s oldest and largest LGBTQI NGOs, who told this site: “Even though the government is trying to make enemies of LGBTQI people, the last few days have shown that Hungarians do not want to increase hatred. In the next period, we will focus on challenging the counterfeit and inhuman law by all legal means at home and abroad. “
Victoria Radványi, organizer of Budapest Pride, also told this website: “The most important thing is to tell LGBTQI youth and their families that they are not alone, that the crowds are fighting for their rights and against this evil law.