European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has insisted that Hungary must amend its paedophilia law which "violates LGBTQ+ rights" or face legal action.
Politicians of the ruling radical rightwing Fidesz party retorted by claiming that Hungary is again under "concerted attack".
Addressing a European Parliament plenary debate in Strasbourg on July 7, von der Leyen said the Hungarian law had been a top priority of the EU heads of state and government. She said the law "puts homosexuality on par with pornography" and she called the law discriminatory and "disgraceful". She added that the law was completely at odds with the EU’s core values.
Hungary’s parliament adopted a bill which, at its origin, was intended to protect children against paedophile offenders, an objective which is shared and pursued by all institutions and member states within the union, the EP motion reads.
The bill was later amended in a way that restricts severely and intentionally the rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ persons, as well as children’s rights. The legislation bans the portrayal of homosexuality and sex reassignment in school education material and TV programmes addressed to people under 18 years of age. Teaching sex education in schools will be limited to people approved by the government.
The European Parliament is expected to condemn the regulation in a resolution on Thursday which will urge the commission to launch yet another infringement procedure against Hungary.
Hungary had come under a concerted attack in the EU regarding the child protection law, Family Minister Katalin Novak said. She said the law was aligned with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that states parents have the right to educate their children based on their beliefs and that the child’s interests are supreme.
Klara Dobrev, a prime ministerial candidate of the opposition DK and a vice-president of the EC, called on European leaders to stop funding the family of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his cronies, who have taken Hungary hostage.
Hungary’s illiberal strongman did not attend the session but released a fierce statement prior to the debate saying the document condemning Hungary is full of "crude, anti-democratic remarks" made by the prime ministers of a number of EU member states.
According to him, several EU officials "have crossed a red line" and Hungary must defend itself by all available European legal means, suggesting that the government will not bow to calls to withdraw the legislation, which will come into force on July 8.
A group of MEPs called on the EC to suspend EU funds to Hungary to force Viktor Orban to address concerns over politicised courts and corruption, citing a report by academics. They concluded that “grave breaches of the rule of law” mean the EU executive is legally justified in suspending payments to Hungary to protect EU taxpayers.
The report, commissioned by a group of MEPs, outlines the grounds for the European Commission to activate its new rule-of-law conditionality in force since January 1, which allows payments of EU funds to be suspended in certain circumstances.
The breaches detailed in the report seriously risk affecting the sound financial management of the Union budget and the protection of the financial interests of the EU. The authors highlighted that in 2019, companies close to the government won 21% of the value of all public tenders, and in the early months of the pandemic in 2020, closely connected companies won 27% of the value of all public tenders. Ten businessmen close to the government won nearly €6.5bn in EU funds between 2010 and 2018 from state contracts.