Hungary warns Czech Republic “to stay away” from its children


Central Europe


Billboards encouraging people to participate at the government-initiated national referendum on Hungary's child protection law are displayed in Budapest. Photo EPA, Zsolt Czegledi

Keep your hands off our children, the Hungarian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs said to the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. The latter said to regret that the Czech Republic does not oppose the Hungarian Child Protection Law.

State Secretary Tamas Menczer made the statement amid the controversy around the Hungarian Child Protection Law. That is reported by Euractiv. The legislation bans the use of materials that promote homosexuality and gender change at schools. The European Commission strongly opposes the law and has started a lawsuit against Hungary. If the European Court of Justice also condemns the law, it can fine Hungary.

When the Hungarian legislation was debated in 2021, there was a huge scandal about this. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte even suggestion Hungary to leave the EU.

However, the Czech Republic, led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala, has refused to get involved in the lawsuit. That led to a disappointed reaction from the Czech Foreign Minister Lipavský. He wrote on Twitter that his Pirate Party would not leave the issue be. "Children are not threatened by seeing such characters on TV or in books. They are endangered by the artificial stirring up of hatred or the concealment of information", he stated on Wednesday.

His tweet led to an indignant response from Hungary. The Hungarian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Tamás Menczer, reacted in a Facebook post that "what happens in Czech kindergartens and schools is a matter for the Czechs, none of my business." He added that it "is good for the Czech Foreign Minister to know that in Hungary only the decision of the Hungarian people matters and that the Hungarians have clearly decided that the children must be protected."


At the same time, several other European countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Germany, have expressed support for the lawsuit against Hungary. In total, more than half of the EU members are in favour of the court case.

Hungary is especially indignant about the support from Finland and Sweden for the lawsuit. The Hungarian government had expected the Finnish authorities to remain neutral on the issue, as Hungary had recently approved the NATO membership of the country. Sweden still needs Hungarian approval to become a member. Budapest now says this support is not there yet and moves further away by Sweden's decision.



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