Brussels (Brussels Morning) Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, hit back against the European Commission on Friday for launching an infringement procedure against his country by accusing the EU executive of “legalised hooliganism”.
The Commission initiated the procedure against Hungary on Thursday over its so-called “anti-LGBT” law, which most EU countries believe unfairly discriminates against sexual minorities, effectively pushing them underground.
Talking to state radio on Friday, Orbán denounced the infringement action, describing the Commission’s stance as “shameful” and saying that the infringement procedure itself amounts to “legalised hooliganism”.
Orbán, facing a tough reelection campaign against united opposition in next year’s parliamentary elections, has amplified his commitment to what he claims is “protection of Christian values”. On Friday, he emphasised that Hungary will not let “LGBT activists march up and down in schools” promoting “sexual propaganda”, something, he implies, that is currently happening in schools in Germany.
The Hungarian government’s new law, originally intended to protect children from paedophiles, increasing mandatory sentences and creating a register of sex offenders, was amended during the legislative process to conflate homosexuality and paedophilia, ultimately banning all “depiction or promotion” of homosexuality to under-18s.
The vague wording of the law means bookstores and publishers will have to slap warning labels on books mentioning same-sex relationships, while TV channels will be forced to move many popular series and films to late-night slots. What exactly constitutes “depiction” remains subject to interpretation by the courts, which leaves open the possibility that even waving a rainbow flag could be banned.
Just last week, a bookstore chain was fined for failing to put a warning label on a children’s book that depicts families with same-sex partners. This prompted bookstores all over Hungary to place notices at their entrances warning customers that they sell works featuring “non-traditional content”.