Connect with us

Gay rights

EU to Hungary's Orban: Respect LGBT rights or leave

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Respect LGBT rights or leave the European Union, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Hungary's premier as EU leaders confronted Viktor Orban (pictured) over a law that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality, writes Gabriela Baczynska.

Several EU summit participants spoke of the most intense personal clash among the bloc's leaders in years on Thursday night (24 June).

"It was really forceful, a deep feeling that this could not be. It was about our values; this is what we stand for," Rutte told reporters on Friday.

Advertisement

"I said 'Stop this, you must withdraw the law and, if you don't like that and really say that the European values are not your values, then you must think about whether to remain in the European Union'."

French President Emmanuel Macron called it a "cultural battle", acknowledging a deepening rift with increasingly assertive illiberal leaders that is hurting EU cohesion.

"To fight against homophobic laws is to defend individual freedoms and human dignity," he said, adding that Hungary should remain a member of the EU.

Advertisement

Unless it rows back, Hungary faces a legal challenge at the EU's highest court. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said Orban should also be subject to an as-yet untested procedure to cut EU funding for those who violate rules.

The new mechanism was introduced as closely aligned conservative governments in Poland and Hungary have shielded one another for years from sanctions under existing measures to protect EU democratic and human rights values.

Demonstrators protest against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the latest anti-LGBTQ law in Budapest, Hungary, June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Marton Monus/File Photo

The provisions for schools have been included in a law primarily aimed at protecting children from paedophiles, a link that Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo described as "primitive".

Orban, who has been Hungary's prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.

Describing himself as a "freedom fighter", Orban told reporters before the meeting that the law was not an attack on gay people but aimed at guaranteeing parents' right to decide on their children's sexual education.

The EU is pushing Orban to repeal the law - the latest in a string of restrictive policies towards media, judges, academics and migrants.

Seventeen of the 27 EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, signed a joint letter reaffirming their commitment to protecting gay rights.

"We all made it very clear which fundamental values we adhere to," Merkel said.

She said she shared Macron's assessment that some EU countries have "very different ideas" about Europe.

Bettel, who is openly gay, said the only country other than Poland to support Orban in the discussion was Slovenia, whose prime minister has also been accused of undermining the independence of the media.

Bettel said it was time for Brussels to test its new procedure: "Most of the time, money is more convincing than talk.

European Commission

Equality Union: Commissioner Dalli joins World Pride 2021 to celebrate diversity

Published

on

Today (17 August) Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli will participate in events organized around World Pride 2021 to promote equality and diversity. Commissioner Dalli said: “I am very grateful to be able to participate in the first World Pride since the start of the pandemic. World Pride is a colourful event that embodies diversity and reminds us that equality must always be defended with the utmost determination."

In the morning, Commissioner Dalli will meet Swedish Gender Equality Minister Märta Stenevi for the first time, to discuss issues such as pay transparency and LGBTIQ equality. She will then meet with Michael O'Flaherty, director of the Fundamental Rights Agency, who will brief her on the work carried out by the Agency in support of the Commission's strategies on equality and discrimination against Roma, people with disabilities and LGBTIQ people.

In the afternoon, Commissioner Dalli will participate in a panel discussion on the role of the EU in promoting the inclusion of LGBTIQ people in Europe and globally at the human rights conference. She will end the day with a meeting with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter to discuss LGBTIQ issues, including the rights of transgender people.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Gay rights

Orban says Hungary will not let LGBTQ activists into schools

Published

on

By

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (pictured) said on Thursday (8 July) that EU efforts to force Hungary to abandon a new law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools would be in vain, write Krisztina Than and Anita Komuves, Reuters.

His government will not allow LGBTQ activists into schools, Orban said.

The right-wing leader was speaking on the day the new law entered into force. It bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender reassignment, and says under-18s cannot be shown pornographic content.

Advertisement

It also proposes setting up a list of groups allowed to hold sex education sessions in schools.

European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen warned EU member Hungary on Wednesday it must repeal the legislation or face the full force of EU law.

But Orban said only Hungary had the right to decide on how children should be raised and educated.

Advertisement

The law, which critics say wrongly conflates paedophilia with LGBT+ issues, has prompted protests in Hungary. Rights groups have called on Orban's Fidesz party to withdraw the bill. The European Commission has opened an inquiry into it.

"The European Parliament and the European Commission want that we let LGBTQ activists and organisations into the kindergartens and schools. Hungary does not want that," Orban said on his official Facebook page.

The issue was one of national sovereignty, he said.

"Here Brussels bureaucrats have no business at all, no matter what they do we will not let LGBTQ activists among our children."

Orban, who has been in power since 2010 and faces a potentially tough election fight next year, has grown increasingly radical on social policy in a self-proclaimed fight to safeguard what he says are traditional Christian values from Western liberalism.

The opposition party Jobbik has also supported the bill in parliament.

On Thursday, the NGOs Amnesty International and Hatter society flew a huge heart-shaped rainbow colour balloon over Hungary's parliament building in protest against the law.

"Its aim is to erase LGBTQI people from the public sphere," David Vigh, director of Amnesty International Hungary, told reporters.

He said they will not observe the new law nor change their educational programmes.

Continue Reading

Gay rights

'A disgrace': Hungary must ditch anti-LGBT law, EU executive says

Published

on

By

Demonstrators attend a protest against a law that bans LGBTQ content in schools and media at the Presidential Palace in Budapest, Hungary, June 16, 2021. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo

The European Union's chief executive Ursula von der Leyen warned Hungary on Wednesday (7 July) it must repeal legislation that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality or face the full force of EU law, write Robin Emmott and Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters.

The legislation introduced by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban was sharply criticised by EU leaders at a summit last month, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte telling Budapest to respect EU values of tolerance or leave the 27-country bloc.

Advertisement

"Homosexuality is equated with pornography. This legislation uses the protection of children ... to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation ... It is a disgrace," European Commission President von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"No issue was as important as the one that impinges on our values and our identity," von der Leyen said of the Hungarian law discussion at the June EU summit, saying it went against the protection of minorities and respect for human rights.

Von der Leyen said Hungary would face the full force of EU law if it did not back down, although she did not give details. Such steps could mean a ruling by the European Court of Justice and the freezing of EU funds for Budapest, EU lawmakers say.

Advertisement

Orban, who has been Hungary's prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.

The Spanish government last month approved the draft of a bill to allow anyone over the age of 14 to change gender legally without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy, the first large EU country to do so, in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called the split over values between eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland and Slovenia as a "cultural battle".

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending