High time for Council and Commission to protect Europeans and the EU, MEPs say 

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MEPs stressed that time has run out to protect the rights of LGBTIQ persons, demanding Council and Commission to act ©A. KISBENEDEK, AFP  

A broad majority of MEPs demanded action from the Council and the Commission against the continuous deterioration of EU values in Hungary and Poland.

In a debate in plenary, both Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar, on behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council, and Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourova, spoke against the recently adopted anti-LGBTIQ legislation in Hungary. They pointed out that it contradicts EU law, and highlighted that the matter falls within the EU’s remit under the Treaties.

MEPs asked them to act to protect Europeans and the EU as a whole. The lack of concrete and decisive action, partly from the Commission in relation to protecting the EU budget, and especially from the Council, which is stalling in the Article 7 procedures on Hungary and Poland, has enabled these attacks on EU values, they said. Many highlighted that this lack of political will is aggravating the situation and leads to the continuous degradation of the European Union and the proliferation of such practices. Some stressed that the Hungarian and Polish governments are using these attacks on EU values to cover up corruption and policy failures.

Many asked for LGBTIQ persons to be protected, especially those who are minors, from the potentially psychologically and physically disastrous persecution that they are facing. The infringement of their freedom of expression and right to dignity, under the pretext of anti-paedophilia legislation, should not be left unanswered, they stated.

Some MEPs argued that there is nothing wrong with the new Hungarian law and that it is within the government’s exclusive powers to decide on such matters. Accusing the EU of double standards, several speakers opined that LGBTIQ persons and organisations face no obstacles in Hungary and Poland, and that the issue is being used to attack the sovereignty of member states who adhere to “traditional” or “conservative” values.

Watch extracts from Wednesday’s debate here, or catch up with the full debate here.