Fulminating reaction against homophobia. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced this Wednesday that she will open a file against Hungary due to the possible illegality of the recently approved regulations that prohibit talking about homosexuality in schools. The community initiative to stop the Government of Viktor Orbán comes just a few hours after 14 countries, including Spain, demanded measures against a law that they accuse of stigmatizing the LGTBI community.
“This Hungarian law is a disgrace,” said Von der Leyen. “For this reason, I have asked the commissioners in charge to send a letter with our legal concerns even before the law enters into force,” added the president of the Commission. The pre-emptive attack in Brussels tries to abort the rule as soon as possible. And he predicts that, should the Orbán government go ahead with the law, Brussels will act expeditiously to bring Hungary before the EU Court of Justice, as requested by the 14 countries that signed the declaration agreed on Tuesday in Luxembourg. following a Council of Ministers for General Affairs of the EU held in the Grand Duchy.
The Orbán government has not been slow to respond, equally bluntly, with a statement in which it describes Von der Leyen’s words as shameful up to three times. “The statement of the president of the European Commission is a shame because it is based on false allegations (…) it is a shame because Hungarian law is based on article 14.3 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (…) it is a shame because it propagates a biased political opinion without first carrying out an impartial investigation ”.
The head-on clash between Von der Leyen and Orbán occurs just 24 hours before the European summit that takes place this Thursday and Friday in Brussels. And he anticipates a tough confrontation between a large part of the community partners and a Hungarian government that is being cornered little by little and with which coexistence within the Union is increasingly complicated.
The vice-president of the Commission, Vera Jourova, already warned in Luxembourg that in her opinion the Hungarian law raised problems in the field of “education, freedom of expression and discrimination”. Jourova indicated that the Commission services were analyzing the text to verify possible incompatibilities with Union regulations and, if necessary, initiate an infringement file.
Von der Leyen pointed out this Wednesday that “the law discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation.” The former Defense Minister of Angela Merkel’s government considers that the Hungarian rule “violates the fundamental values of the European Union: human dignity, equality and respect for human rights.” Von der Leyen has assured that he does not accept haggling with those principles. “I have emphasized it many times,” he recalled during a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexandre de Croo, to announce the approval of that country’s recovery plan.
Belgium has been precisely the country that prompted the declaration to request measures against Hungarian law, an unprecedented initiative that shows the exhaustion in many European capitals in the face of the authoritarian, xenophobic and homophobic drift of the Orbán Government. The declaration was signed, among others, by Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). But not only the oldest members of the club have joined. Also the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), which joined the EU in 2004 as Hungary, have signed the petition for measures against Hungary, which shows that it is not an east-west confrontation but a struggle for the respect or not of certain values considered fundamental until now by the EU.
“I believe in a European Union where each and everyone can be who they are, where we can love whoever we want,” said Von der Leyen. “I believe in a Europe of diversity,” he added. And the president has promised to “do everything in the power of the Commission to protect the rights of EU citizens anywhere in the EU.”
It usually takes weeks or months for the Commission to analyze national rules potentially incompatible with Union treaties or with Community legislation and jurisprudence. But in the case of the new Hungarian law, approved by the Hungarian Parliament with 157 votes in favor and one against, the clamor against is of such magnitude that Brussels has decided to launch the offensive without even waiting for the controversial rule to enter into force. vigor.
The Hungarian norm, which has been compared to a similar one in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, prohibits “the description and promotion of a gender identity other than the sex assigned at birth, gender change and homosexuality.” For Budapest, it is only a question of protecting minors from alleged campaigns in favor of promoting homosexuality or attacking the sexual integrity of children. “This law is not against any community in Hungary, it is only against pedophiles,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Tuesday in Luxembourg.
Szijjarto accused critical voices of orchestrating a campaign against Hungary without even having read the content of the law. And he defended that “until the age of 18, parents have to have exclusive competence over education regarding sexual orientation, it cannot be that children return home with propaganda about their sexual orientation.”
The Hungarian minister’s arguments did not convince most of his European colleagues, who went ahead with the statement promoted by Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. In the end, the text against the law was signed by 14 of the 27 partner countries of the Union. Austria joined this Wednesday. Portugal has not yet joined because it holds the semester presidency of the Union and prefers to remain neutral until the end of its mandate on June 30. But the António Costa government made it clear that it supports an initiative that shows the growing isolation of Orbán’s Hungary within the EU.