EU takes Hungary to court for child protection law


Central Europe


A man reads the text on a poster of TV station RTL Klub, which previously featured a photo of a gay wedding from one of their shows. It has being removed and replaced with text, due to the new law banning the "display or promotion" of homosexuality. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

The European Commission initiates a lawsuit against Hungary because of its child protection law. The head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, calls the law restricting information about homosexuality a "shame."

The EU takes Hungary to court for several reasons, Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports. Firstly, the Commission opposes Hungary's child protection law, which was introduced last year. The regulation forbids the distribution of information about homosexuality in several areas. For example, it bans publications aimed at children that promote homosexuality or any other non-traditional relationship. In addition, advertisements that portray LGBT people as normal are forbidden.

The European Commission thinks this bill violates the rule of law in the international community. According to critics, Hungarian president Viktór Orban undermines the rights of minorities, democratic institutions and the freedom of the press. Furthermore, the European Commission thinks the law discriminates against minorities "based on their sexual orientation and gender identity among other things and violates fundamental rights and EU values."

The Commission started infringement proceedings against the country earlier, but Budapest was not impressed. Also, the various protests that broke out all over Europe did not change Orban's mind. He says that he is actually defending gay rights.

Petrol is more expensive for foreigner

The second reason the Commission brought Hungary to court for is the government's action against a radio station in the country. According to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, this radio station was "probably the last professional independent radio station." It was forced to quit its broadcasting because the government did not issue the medium a renewed licence. The radio station now took to the internet, but it has a much smaller reach there.

The European Commission finds that Hungary acts in a discriminatory way.

In addition to the two lawsuits, the European Commission also started infringement proceedings against Hungary. In such a procedure, the European Commission will research suspected violations of European law and eventually go to court if it deems necessary. In this case, the Commission finds it problematic that Hungary refuses to allow owners of foreign vehicles to benefit from state subsidies. Thus, they have to pay more for petrol.

The Commission finds that discriminatory and argues that Hungary violates the internal market rules.



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