EP condemns Hungary’s anti-LGBTIQ legislation in the ‘strongest possible terms’

New anti-LGBTIQ laws rules in Hungary a ‘clear breach of EU values, principles and law’, according to MEPs

MEPs lashed out at Victor Orban's state-sponsored LGBTIQ-phobia and disinformation campaigns, which they say have become tools for political censorship
MEPs lashed out at Victor Orban's state-sponsored LGBTIQ-phobia and disinformation campaigns, which they say have become tools for political censorship

MEPs came out swinging and in force against Hungary’s new and highly controversial anti-LGBTIQ laws, which they condemned “in the strongest possible terms” on Thursday. They also expressed serious concern over the dismantling of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.

In a resolution – adopted overwhelmingly with 459 in favour 147 against, and 58 abstentions on Thursday – MEPs describe the Hungarian law as being in clear breach of fundamental rights enshrined in the EU Charter of fundamental rights, the Treaties and EU internal market legislation.

Parliament on Thursday stressed how the new Hungarian law was far from an isolated, one-off incident but, it rather “constitutes another intentional and premeditated example of the gradual dismantling of fundamental rights in Hungary”.

MEPs lashed out at Hungarian state-sponsored LGBTIQ-phobia and disinformation campaigns, which they say have become tools for political censorship.

Such human rights violations, according to MEPs, are part of a broader political agenda to break down democracy and the rule of law, including media freedom, and should be considered a systemic violation of the European Union’s values.

On 15 June 2021, the Hungarian Parliament voted almost unanimously (157 votes to one) in favour of rules that, under the guise of combating paedophilia, restrict freedom of speech and children’s rights by banning LGBTIQ content from being featured in school educational materials or TV shows for under-18s. The new law entered into force today, 8 July 2021.

MEPs highlighted other instances in which Hungary is on thin ice as concerns the upholding of EU values, such as the recent amendment to Hungary’s Constitution to declare that “the mother is a female and the father is a male”, as well as the de facto ban of legal gender recognition for transgender and intersex persons.

Alarmed at how the Hungarian legislation resembles the 2013 ‘LGBT Propaganda law’ in Russia, MEPs also called on the Commission to investigate the financing of anti-LGBTIQ campaigns in Europe, and to do so in depth.

The vast majority of MEPs declared their unwavering commitment to defend children’s rights, stating that tolerance, acceptance, and diversity should serve as guiding principles to ensure the best interests of the child are respected.

MEPs call on Commission to use accelerated infringement procedure

MEPs also called on the Commission to launch an accelerated infringement procedure and to use all tools in the Court of Justice, such as interim measures and penalties for non-compliance if necessary.

They also called on the member states to bring the matter to the CJEU should the Commission not act, and to launch an inter-state application to the European Court of Human Rights.

Last week, the leaders of more than half of the EU's member states, Malta included, declared their support for defending the rights of LGBTQ people after the passing of Hungary’s controversial new law. 

The letter, signed by the heads of state ahead of the last EU summit, deplored the "threats against fundamental rights and, in particular, the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation".

Over and above the LGBTIQ controversy, Parliament pointed to a number of other issues in Hungary where the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation “should be immediately triggered to protect the EU budget”.  They also expressed serious concerns that the Hungarian Recovery and Resilience Plan may not comply with EU law.

MEPs also called on the Council and the Commission to unblock the Anti-Discrimination Directive, and to follow up on Parliament’s initiative on the establishment of a permanent EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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