Hungary’s PM Confronted by Angry EU leaders Over Anti-LGBTQ+ BillReading Time: < 1 minutes
In a heated debate on Thursday night, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán was confronted over recent anti-LGBTQ+ measures by his fellow heads of state and governments.
Diplomatic sources say those leaders spoke in unusually personal and emotional terms for an EU summit discussion. Luxembourg’s PM Xavier Bettel spoke of his own struggles of being accepted as a gay man. Dutch PM Mark Rutte, told Orbán he could opt to leave the EU, openly raising Article 50, the EU Treaty provision used to trigger a departure from the bloc.
Germany’s leader Angela Merkel said that while parents have rights, children have their own rights — and that it is problematic to equate homosexuality with pedophilia. A number of other leaders shared their outrage at the mention of homosexuality in a bill originally intended to tackle pedophilia.
Orbán pushed back against the critical reactions to the law, insisting that the measures had been misunderstood. He claimed the law is designed to protect children and ensure their parents’ rights to raise their children as they wish.
Despite the majority of countries being against him, the Hungarian prime minister received some support from Poland, another EU country that clashing with the EU on rule of law issues. Furthermore, among countries in the CEE region, Slovenia showed some extent of support for Hungary, while a number of others, among them Slovakia, did not take a clear position around the negotiating table.
The EU’s overall approach has unearthed a visible east-west/north divide in how Hungary’s law is being perceived.
The controversy erupted last week, after the Hungarian parliament passed legal amendments to ban the distribution of materials about homosexuality or sex reassignment to minors.