Hungary: Krichbaum grilled on 'sickening' authoritarian rule
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The Belgian MEP blasted the EU Commission and the current EU presidency, held by Slovenia, over their failure to take punishing measures against Hungary. Mr Verhofstadt appeared visibly frustrated as MEPs debated Mr Orban’s latest controversial anti-LGBT+ law.
He blasted: “I have followed this debate from this morning and I am stunned.
“And I say that to the Slovenian presidency.
“After three years: closing a university, closing a radio like Klubradio, going after judges.
“After three years the only thing you can say here is ‘Oh we got a debate and it was an interesting debate, and we didn’t apply Article 7, paragraph 1, because there was Covid. We had no time to do it’.
“I find this a shame.
“When are you going to take the only decision that you need to take, that is to request from Hungary to repeal the LGBT law that has been voted.
“That is what you have to decide!
“And no, Commissioners, it is not sufficient to hold it on the agenda.
“There needs to be a decision. Article 7 has been launched by this Parliament three years ago.
“And it’s a shame that after three years the only thing you come to tell us is ‘Oh, we want to come back later on it’.”
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Opening the heated debate, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned Hungary it must repeal legislation that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality or face the full force of EU law.
The legislation introduced by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban was sharply criticised by EU leaders at a summit last month, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte telling Budapest to respect EU values of tolerance or leave the 27-country bloc.
Mrs von der Leyen said: “Homosexuality is equated with pornography.
“This legislation uses the protection of children … to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation … It is a disgrace.
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“No issue was as important as the one that impinges on our values and our identity.”
The Commission President said Hungary would face the full force of EU law if it did not back down, although she did not give details.
Such steps could mean a ruling by the European Court of Justice and the freezing of EU funds for Budapest, EU lawmakers say.
Mr Orban, who has been Hungary’s prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.
The Spanish government last month approved the draft of a bill to allow anyone over the age of 14 to change gender legally without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy, the first large EU country to do so, in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called the split over values between eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland and Slovenia as a “cultural battle”.
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