Populist leaders stated at the EU summit that the new law banning LGBTQ content in schools “does not oppose homosexuality.”
When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived at the EU summit in Brussels, he strongly defended the country’s new law banning LGBTQ content in schools, and the summit was increasingly controversial.
“This is not against homosexuality, nor any sexual interference. It has nothing to do with homosexuality,” Orban said.
“It’s about the rights of children and parents,” he said, adding that he will not withdraw the legislation despite fierce public criticism of it by most of his EU counterparts.
On Thursday, leaders from 17 EU countries signed a letter, although they did not directly mention Hungary, they regretted the “threat to fundamental rights, especially the threat to the principle of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation”.
Prior to this, heavyweight countries including Germany, France, Italy and Spain issued a more explicit joint statement earlier this week, which raised “serious concerns” about Hungarian law.
This week, when European football governing body UEFA rejected Munich’s plan to light up the stadium with rainbow colors for Wednesday’s match between Germany and Hungary, the issue was pushed to the forefront of EU politics.
An EU official said that the rapid debate on Hungarian law has become “very important” and is likely to be discussed at a work dinner.
“The Fundamental Values of the European Union”
Some EU leaders followed Orban into the summit meeting hall along the red carpet and publicly criticized the legislation.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said: “The measures being taken by the Hungarian authorities violate the basic values of the European Union.”
“Tonight we will express our views on this very strongly.”
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he would tell Orban that “his comments and the laws he passed are unacceptable.”
French President Emmanuel Macron (Emmanuel Macron) is more cautious, saying he is “always vigilant” to ask another EU country to withdraw the legislation.
“But I will defend our values, I will say the law…In my opinion, it is inconsistent with our values,” he said, adding that he hoped that the “dialogue” with Orbán would change the law.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had previously called Hungarian law “wrong”, did not mention a word on arrival and briefly introduced the “full agenda” of the summit.
European Commission President Ursula von der Lein said on Wednesday that the legislation “obviously discriminates against people based on sexual orientation” and that her executives will challenge its legal basis.
However, Orban dismissed the impact and accused EU leaders of not reading the legal text.
He said that if it was brought up, he would tell them “this is about how children learn sexual behavior. In any case, this is a difficult and complicated issue, and the decision in this regard is entirely the parent’s business.”