Portugal has condemned the new anti-LGBTIQ law passed in Hungary – banning “the display and promotion of homosexuality” among under 18s – but it has stopped short of signing a declaration made by 13 other European countries, on the basis that it is still leading the presidency of the Council of the European Union, and as such should show ‘institutional neutrality’.
Said foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva today: “From our point of view, the legislation recently approved by Hungary is an unworthy legislation that departs considerably from European values”.
It is a decision that “Portugal does not identify with, which the Portuguese State does not accompany” and about which parliament and various sovereign entities are certain to “think the same way”.
The declaration meantime is demanding that the European Commission “uses all instruments at its disposition to guarantee the full respect for European law” in Hungary.
The statement – signed by Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia and Belgium – says that “stigmatising LGBTIQ (standing for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or questioning) persons constitutes a clear breach of their fundamental right to dignity, as provided for in the EU Charter and international law”.
The new legislation, brought in just over a week ago, essentially bans gay people from featuring in school educational materials or in TV shows for the under-18s.
Hungarian authorities have couched it as a way of “protecting children in a way that it makes it an exclusive right of the parents to educate their children regarding sexual orientation until the age of 18”.
Indeed, according to Austria, what makes it even worse is that the legislation has been ‘parked’ in a bill penalising pedophilia.
Ireland’s minister for European affairs Thomas Byrne suggests this is “a very, very dangerous moment for Hungary and for the EU as well”.
It has come just as European affairs ministers held a regular meeting in Luxembourg, this time focused on rule of law issues in Hungary and Poland – both of which are being seen to be in the process of ‘straying’ from EU values.