Hungary: MEP announces decision to trigger Article 7
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A host of capitals, as many as 10, have drafted a scathing statement criticising Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s new LGBT laws. And Poland, alongside Budapest, is still facing its “Article 7” threat, which could see both rogue states lose their EU voting rights. The row is being played out at a meeting of European affairs ministers in Luxembourg, known as the General Affairs Council.
The European Commission triggered Article 7 procedures against Warsaw in 2017, while the EU Parliament launched it against Hungary the following year.
These procedures allow the Commission, Parliament or member states to take action against countries for serious breaches of the rule of law.
Poland was accused of breaking the bloc’s rules over judicial reforms that were said to have been a threat to the primacy of EU law.
In Hungary, there are concerns over the judiciary, anti-corruption frameworks, media freedoms and human rights.
Last week Budapest passed an anti-LGBT law banning “the display and promotion of homosexuality” among under-18s.
Germany is one of the nations pushing for punishments to be dished out if the two states don’t come back in line with EU rules.
Its Europe minister Michael Roth said: “The EU is not first and foremost a single market and also not a monetary union.
“We are a community of shared values. We are all committed to these values. I’m very thankful for the Portuguese presidency that they finally continued the hearing with Hungary and Poland which was to take place for quite some time now.
“But for this, physical meetings are and were a prerequisite, otherwise this can’t work. One question keeps coming up. When should this finally end? The Article 7 proceedings have been ongoing for years now. The answer is simple: once the requirements have been met.”
Top eurocrats fear that Hungary and Poland are still on a collision course with their neighbours.
Commission vice-president Vera Jourova, who is due to hold talks with ministers, told Europe Express: “The last hearing on Poland took place in December 2018 and on Hungary in December 2019, and many things happened since then.
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“Unfortunately, most of them continued to raise our concerns.”
And in a separate statement, ministers from at least 12 states, condemned Hungary’s new LGBT laws as a form of discrimination.
The list included Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
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Their ministers said: “We express our grave concern about the adoption by the Hungarian Parliament of amendments which discriminate against LGBTIQ persons and violate the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children.”
They added: “It represents a flagrant form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and hence deserves to be condemned.
“Inclusion, human dignity, equality are core values of our European Union, and we cannot compromise on these principles.”
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