The European Commission will address Hungary about its law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen confirmed on Wednesday.
She said the bill clearly discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation and goes against the fundamental values of the European Union: human dignity, equality and human rights.
“The Hungarian bill is a shame. I have instructed my responsible commissioners to write a letter to the Hungarian authorities expressing our legal concerns before the bill enters into force,” von der Leyen said during a press conference for the approval of Belgium’s recovery and resilience plan.
“I will use all the powers of the Commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed, whoever you are and wherever you live,” she added.
Previously, the Commission had said that it would first have to examine the text to see whether or not there was a risk of violating European law, however, von der Leyen has now toughened her stance.
“I strongly believe in a European Union where you can love whom you want, can be who you want to be, and that embraces diversity,” she said.
The Commission can launch infringement procedures against a Member State that flout European laws, which can lead to a case at the European Court of Justice.
The legislative amendments made to a number of Hungarian laws (the Child Protection Act, the Corporate Advertising Act, the Media Act, the Family Protection Act and the Public Education Act) ban “the depiction and propagation of a gender identity other than sex at birth, gender reassignment and homosexuality for persons under 18 years of age.”
On Tuesday, 14 member states signed a joint declaration, initiated by Belgium, stating that the amendments made by the Parliament discriminate against LGBTQ+ persons and violate the right to freedom of expression under the guise of protecting children.
They emphasised that the legislation is “clearly in breach of the freedom of expression enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,” and called on the European Commission to act to ensure respect for European laws and values.