Sixteen heads of state or government, including Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, have called on European leaders to continue the fight against the discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community in light of the Hungarian law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality.
The European leaders wrote a letter, addressed to Charles Michel, president of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, pointing to the recent threats against the community without specifically mentioning Hungary.
"In the light of threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, we express our attachment to our common fundamental values, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union," the letter, sent just hours before the EU summit started in Brussels, read.
Hate, intolerance and discrimination have no place in our Union.That's why, today and every day, we stand for diversity and LGBTI equality so that our future generations can grow up in a Europe of equality and respect. pic.twitter.com/tquS0v8oZM — Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) June 24, 2021
The leaders said the letter was sent on the occasion of the celebration of International Pride Day on 28 June, which they said "will be a day to remember that we are diverse and tolerant societies, committed to the unhindered development of the personality of each one of our citizens, including their sexual orientation and gender identity."
"Respect and tolerance are at the core of the European project. We are committed to carrying on with this effort, making sure that future European generations grow up in an atmosphere of equality and respect," the letter added.
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Last week, the amendments 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) were approved, which 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.”
The law, which was the subject of a joint statement initiated by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and backed by fourteen European Union member states, has not been formally included on the summit's agenda, however, it will be brought up by several leaders.
On Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed international criticism of the new legislation upon his arrival in Brussels, according to Belga news agency.
"I defend the rights of gay men," he said, adding that the law, which is "about the fact that only the parents can decide on how to raise their children," has been "published and is in force".
The European Commission said it will address Hungary about its law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality and that it has instructed the responsible commissioners to write a letter to the Hungarian authorities expressing legal concerns.
However, several leaders have called on the Commission to go to the European Court of Justice.
The letter was signed by Alexander De Croo, Mette Frederiksen (Prime Minister of Denmark), Angela Merkel (German Chancellor), Kaja Kallas (Prime Minister of Estonia), Micheal Martin (Prime Minister of Ireland), Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Prime Minister of Greece), Pedro Sanchez (Prime Minister of Spain), Emmanuel Macron (French President), Mario Draghi (Prime Minister of Italy), Nikos Anastasiades (President of Cyprus), Krisjanis Karins (Prime Minister of Latvia), Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister of Luxembourg), Robert Abela (Prime Minister of Malta), Mark Rutte (Prime Minister of the Netherlands), Sanna Marin (Prime Minister of Finland) and Stefan Löfven (Prime Minister of Sweden).
Several leaders of countries, including Portugal, of which the Prime Minister is the temporary EU president, did not sign the letter.