Press release: European Commission launches 3 infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland on LGBTIQ issues

Brussels, 15 July 2021

On 15 July, 2021, the European Commission announced the launching of 3 infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland during its midday press conference.[1]

On the case of Hungary, the procedures relate, firstly, to the recently adopted law which severely restricts the rights of LGBTI persons and violates EU law, the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Secondly, the Commission announced an infringement procedure related to an obligation imposed on book publishers to print disclaimers on children’s books which feature rainbow families as containing ‘behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles’. The European Parliament called last week on the Commission to initiate infringements procedures with its resolution on breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Hungary.

On the case of Poland, the Commission referred to a “lack of cooperation” on its request for detailed information on municipalities and regions declaring themselves “LGBT ideology-free zones”. The Parliament has long been calling for infringement procedures to be opened.

Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, comments:

The Commission has finally launched three strong cases against Hungary and Poland specifically concerning the values of the EU and the human rights of LGBTIQ persons at a crucial moment. The measures undertaken by the Hungarian government to further stigmatise LGBTIQ persons are untenable, so we whole-heartedly welcome the Commission’s strong action. The lack of cooperation of the Polish authorities is also regrettable. We have long advocated for infringement procedures to be launched, including through last week’s resolution which gathered a majority in Parliament. We welcome that the Commission has finally taken action according to its obligations and the reports of activists in Hungary and Poland.

Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, concludes:

The LGBTI Intergroup has been at the forefront of these developments and putting pressure on the Commission to act for a large part of this mandate. We now have clear action to ensure this European Union is also a ‘Union of values’ which defends strongly Article 2 TEU. We are ready to support the Commission in its endeavours and we will keep liaising with civil society, monitoring developments in Hungary, Poland and elsewhere, and alerting the Commission to take action when and if action is needed. Never before have we seen such strong and united action by the Commission to defend the rights of LGBTIQ persons. Today marks a strong date for LGBTIQ rights in Europe, with the Commission at the helm.

Background:

On 10 June 2021, Hungarian lawmakers passed legislation that prohibits sharing content with minors that is seen as promoting homosexuality or sex reassignment. The law, which was adopted almost unanimously (157 votes to 1), breaches EU values and legislation.

Last week, the LGBTI Intergroup tabled with the support of its Members an Oral Question to the Commission on breaches of EU law and the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary,[2] and secured its addition to the July I Plenary agenda alongside a focused debate and a resolution.[3] The resolution, which calls on infringement procedures against Hungary, was adopted by a majority (+459, -147, o58). The infringement procedures launched by the Commission follow the adoption of the resolution by the European Parliament.


[1] European Commission, EC Midday press briefing of 15/07/2021, accessible at https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-208876.

[2] Question for oral answer O-000050/2021 to the Commission, Rule 136, titled “Breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary as a result of the adopted legal changes in the Hungarian Parliament”, accessible at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/O-9-2021-000050_EN.html.

[3] European Parliament resolution of 8 July 2021 on breaches of EU law and of the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary as a result of the legal changes adopted by the Hungarian Parliament, accessible at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0362_EN.html.

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