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Dublin: 26°C Thursday 11 August 2022

EU to launch action against Hungary over law discriminating against LGBTQ citizens

Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the EU would use “all powers available” to force Hungary to repeal or modify the law.

Image: Thierry Monasse/DPA/PA Images

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION is to launch legal action against EU member Hungary on Thursday in response to a law seen as discriminating against LGBTQ citizens.

A senior EU source has confirmed that Brussels would send Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government a warning letter on Wednesday and begin the “infraction procedure” on Thursday.

Last week, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that the EU would use “all powers available” to force Hungary to repeal or modify the law.

The so-called “anti-paedophilia” law came into force on Thursday last week despite Brussels’ warning.

The legislation was billed as a way to protect children, but opponents argue that it conflates paedophilia with homosexuality and stigmatises the LGBTQ community.

The law bans the sharing of content that “promotes” being gay to children and teenagers, impacting education in schools.

The legal text of the law states that “in order to ensure… the protection of children’s rights, pornography and content that depicts sexuality for its own purposes or that promotes deviation from gender identity, gender reassignment and homosexuality shall not be made available to persons under the age of eighteen”.

Last week, the Hungarian government wrote to Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman after he joined other EU leaders in criticising the law. The Minister described it as “homophobia dressed up as a child protection measure”.

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In the letter, the Hungarian government accused those critical of the law of “grave disrespect” towards the country, claiming that the new laws will ensure “more stringent action against paedophile offenders” and that the law was drafted to “protect children”.

Brussels’ letter is the first step in a procedure that could lead to a case before the European Court of Justice and from there to financial penalties on Hungary.

Separately, the commission has also yet to approve Hungary’s application for €7.2 billion in coronavirus recovery funding, even as other member states expect to receive their first payments.

Additional reporting by Jane Moore

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