Hungary and Poland now have two months to respond to the European Commission initiating an infringement process against the two countries for introducing laws against the rights of LGBTQ people.
The legal action against Hungary is in response to their introduction of a new law that makes it illegal to disseminate information about homosexuality to young people and children.
The European Union’s executive also opened a case against Poland after some of that country’s regions and municipalities declared themselves “LGBT-ideology free zones”.
The infringement actions are the latest salvo in a clash of cultures between Brussels and some of the EU’s newest members in eastern Europe over a range of core issues including the rule of law and press freedoms.
“Equality and the respect for dignity and human rights are core values of the EU … The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values,” it said.
“The EU will never allow parts of our societies to be branded: whether it is for whom they love, for how old they are, their ethnicity, their political views or religious beliefs,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a press release on Thursday.
The infringement actions are the start of legal proceedings meant to force member states to comply with EU law. Hungary and Poland have two months to respond, failing which the Commission may refer them to the EU’s Court of Justice.
Many of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s critics in the EU want the Commission to put maximum pressure on Budapest to scrap the law by making a link to the disbursement of billions of euros of post-pandemic EU stimulus funds.
The Commission missed its own deadline this week to sign off on Hungary’s recovery plan to allow the money to start flowing.
Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said on Thursday that debates about the new law should not have any implications for Hungary’s recovery funds.
The European Commission said it acted against Poland over LGBT-free zones because it was concerned they may violate EU law regarding non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
It added that had not received sufficient information about the zones from Warsaw.
Last Updated on Jul 16, 2021