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Von der Leyen 'very concerned' over Hungary law banning LGBT 'promotion' to minors

She said the European Commission is “assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
Image: Stephanie Lecocq via PA Images

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION is assessing whether Hungary’s new law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors “breaches relevant EU legislation”. 

The law, passed yesterday, is the latest in a series of measures right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government says are aimed at protecting children.

But critics say the changes – which effectively ban teaching about LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) groups – would discriminate and restrict freedom of expression.

Brussels has been under pressure to condemn Hungary’s latest move, which the US State Department says “raises concerns” and includes restrictions that “have no place in democratic society”.

Under intense questioning from reporters at a regular daily news briefing, European Commission officials this afternoon could only say that they would “look into it in more detail”.

“We are not going to be shy, we are going to express our views or opinions,” European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant insisted.

“But we need to base those on a thorough reflection on what is actually in that law, and what the problems with that law would be.”

“What we do will depend on what we find out,” Spinant said, pointing to the “important and legal and political steps” the EU has taken to build a strategy to protect LGBTQI rights.

“We will need to see under what aspects and on what points the legislation complies or fails to comply with EU legislation or with our principles.”

In a tweet this evening, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she is “very concerned” about the new law, adding that the Commission is “assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation”. 

“I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children,” von der Leyen said. 

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“No one should be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation,” she added. 

In recent years, Orban, who has ruled Hungary since 2010, has enacted a socially conservative policy agenda, shaping the EU member into what he calls a bastion against liberal ideologies.

Last December, parliament adopted a package of measures enshrining what the government sees as the traditional family, effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples.

Includes reporting by © – AFP, 2021

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