Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has called for financial sanctions against Hungary following the country’s latest anti-LGBTQI law, which was approved earlier this week.
“There is no place for homophobia in the European Union,” De Croo said while addressing Parliament.
“The EU is not a cash machine, from which you can withdraw money but then not have to abide by the rules. The European Union is a club with clear rules, and so there must also be mechanisms to force members to respect certain rules.”
Hungarian lawmakers passed legislation on Tuesday that prohibits sharing content with minors that’s seen as promoting homosexuality or sex reassignment.
The ban on “LGBTQI promotion” extends to any space where minors could be present, and is therefore seen as an effective ban on LGBTQI people existing in public.
Members of the European Parliament have denounced the new law, which was adopted almost unanimously in a 157 to 1 vote, calling it “an ultimate breach of EU values.”
“Homophobic and transphobic policies in Hungary continue with this parliamentary vote,” said Evelyn Regner (Austria), Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
“It is a worrying development how the rights of LGBTIQ people are being cut back bit by bit and the community is being made invisible. Such incitement is contrary to our fundamental European values, which we in the EU cannot turn a blind eye to any longer.”
— Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) June 16, 2021
Translation: LGBTI rights are human rights. There is no place in the European Union for homophobia or discrimination against #LGBTI
Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, and members of Parliament have been warning about the deteriorating human rights situation there for some time now.
They demanded the council act to prevent Hungarian authorities from breaching the EU’s founding values back in fall of 2018, citing their concerns regarding judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, the rights of minorities, and the situation of migrants and refugees.
De Croo says that several heads of government at the European Council want to “send a very clear message,” and Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR) will also raise the issue at the European General Affairs Council, whose Foreign Affairs Council meets next week.
“LGBT rights are human rights, which are the foundations of our Union,” De Croo said.
“These must not be touched: respect for the dignity of human beings, freedom, respect for democracy, equality, respect for the rule of law, respect for human rights and especially those of minorities.”