European Commission opens infringement proceedings against Hungary and Poland over LGBTIQ rights

The European Commission last week opened infringement proceedings against Hungary and Poland to “protect fundamental rights” in Europe after the two countries introduced measures that question the rights of LGBTIQ people.

Against Hungary, the European Commission opened an infringement process due to the anti-LGBTIQ law (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex and queer), approved on June 15 in the country, and which, in its grounds, prohibits “the promotion” of homosexuality among minors under 18 years of age.

According to the European Commission, despite the protection of minors without a legitimate public interest, which the European Union shares and supports, the Hungarian Government has failed to explain to the community executive why exposing children to LGBTIQ content would be harmful to their welfare whether or not it would be in your best interests.

Adding to a set of European rules that the Hungarian law violates, the European Commission indicates that the provisions of the law also violate human dignity, freedom of expression and information, respect for human rights, and the European values that are written in Article 2 of the EU Treaties. Hungary has two months to respond to the European Commission.

The European Commission is also launching another infringement procedure against the Hungarian government for, on January 19, forcing a publisher to publish a warning on a children’s book containing stories featuring LGBTIQ people, which warned that the texts showed “forms of behavior that deviate from traditional gender roles.”

“By imposing an obligation to provide information about a divergence from ‘traditional gender roles’, Hungary is restricting the freedom of expression of authors and publishers of books, and discriminates on grounds of sexual orientation in an unjustified manner,” the Commission notes.

In both cases, the EU executive has sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary, setting a two-month deadline for a response, failing which the proceedings will be pursued, which in the long run could lead to a complaint to the EU Court of Justice.

Regarding Poland, the European Commission considers that the Polish authorities have not responded fully and appropriately to requests for clarification from the EU executive regarding the nature and impact of the so-called “LGBTIQ people-free zones,” which have been introduced through resolutions in hundreds of Polish municipalities and cities since 2019.

However, to be able to analyse the situation further , the Commission indicates that it needs to be provided with adequate and comprehensive information by the Polish authorities, which, despite a clear appeal made by the EU executive in March, Warsaw continues to fail to comply with, manifestly avoiding responding to most of the Commission’s requests.

“Poland is hindering the Commission’s ability to exercise the powers conferred on it by the Treaties, and is not respecting the principle of sincere cooperation (…) which requires Member States to genuinely cooperate with the European institutions,” the statement points out.

Accordingly, the European Commission has sent a letter of formal notice due to Poland’s “lack of cooperation”, giving the local government two months to respond, before proceeding to the next step in the infringement procedure, as they did with Hungary.

The EU executive is carrying out the threat that had been made by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who, during the European Parliament plenary session last week, had said that if Hungary did not “correct” the anti-LGBTIQ law, the European Commission would use all the powers at its disposal.

“Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatized because of who they love, their age, ethnicity, political opinion or religious belief. Because we must never forget: when we defend one part of our society, we are defending the freedom of our society as a whole,” Von der Leyen said.


Harmful: dangereux, nocif

Welfare: bien-être

Pursue: poursuivre

So-called: soi-disant, prétendu

Comply: obtempérer

Hinder: gêner, entraver

Carry (sth) out: effectuer, réaliser

Threat: menace

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